Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two

And then there were 13: Powerhouse Pens fall flat


What began as a promising Stanley Cup run ended humbly on Sunday as the Pittsburgh Penguins lost 5-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers, losing their Eastern Conference quarterfinal four games to two.

In the end, the Pens were unable to dig themselves out of an 0-3 series hole — though they did make things interesting by winning Games 4 and 5.

What happened?

The Penguins fell apart defensively, especially on the penalty kill. Philadelphia set a franchise record with 12 power play goals in the series, scoring on over half its opportunities with the man advantage (finishing at a stunning 52 percent.)

Such an anemic power play would’ve been bad under normal circumstances, but in this series? It killed the undisciplined Pens, who accumulated nearly 150 penalty minutes and had three players (Craig Adams, James Neal and Arron Asham) suspended.

All told, the Penguins allowed 30 goals in six games.

Who takes the blame?

Lots of fingers will be pointed at Marc-Andre Fleury, and rightfully so. He let in a series of questionable markers and finished with horrific numbers (.832 save percentage, goals-against average over four). Pittsburgh’s leading penalty killers — Brooks Orpik, Zbynek Michalek, Pascal Dupuis and Adams — also have to shoulder some of the blame as well.

Evgeni Malkin will likely want to forget this series as well after being outplayed by 19-year-old Flyers rookie Sean Couturier.

What will they do about it?

The Pens need to find a capable backup netminder. Even though Fleury was nightmarish at times, Brent Johnson — who’d fallen out of favor earlier this season — only made one appearance this series, which spoke volumes of Dan Bylsma’s lack of faith in him.

Other than this, there’s not much Pittsburgh can do. It has 18 players on the books for $59 million next year — including maligned defenseman Paul Martin, signed until 2015 with an average annual cap hit of $5 million.


And then there were 15: Is Detroit’s dynasty on its last legs?

And then there were 14: Sharks come out flat in playoffs

Julien says Lundqvist’s acting ‘doesn’t need to be on the ice’


The goalie interference penalty called on Brad Marchand late in Friday’s Thanksgiving Showdown didn’t sit well with the Bruins.

Marchand, whistled after making contact with New York’s Henrik Lundqvist midway through the third, said he thought “it was a bit of a weak call,” adding “[Lundvqist’s] out of the crease, and he lightly gets touched.”

While Marchand took issue with the call, his head coach took issue with King Henrik.

(In Julien’s defense, Lundqvist does have a pretty lengthy IMDB page.)

The interference penalty was nearly disastrous for the Bruins, as J.T. Miller scored on the ensuing power play to given the Blueshirts a 3-2 edge.

However, Boston replied with a power-play goal of its own — Ryan Spooner, at the 16:14 mark — which set the stage for David Krejci‘s dramatic game-winner with just under two minutes to go.

So, to recap: Today’s game had the Beleskey hit on Stepan, the Marchand-Lundqvist theatrics and a dramatic come-from-behind victory for Boston.

And so, to answer your next question:

These two teams next meet on Monday, Jan. 11, at MSG.

Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

Video: Peluso, Gabriel throw down in spirited heavyweight tilt

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The big boys got after it early in Minnesota today.

Wild forward Kurtis Gabriel — all 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds of him — picked one of the toughest opponents in hockey on Friday, throwing down with Jets enforcer Anthony Peluso early in the first period.

And it was a pretty good tilt.

Peluso, one of the league’s most feared fighters, was coming off two pretty heavy scraps — one against Columbus tough guy Jared Boll, and another in which he landed some serious shots on overmatched Canucks d-man Luca Sbisa:

Of course, Gabriel’s no slouch.

He had one previous fight in the NHL this year (against Peluso’s teammate, Chris Thorburn) and five in the American League, where he’s spent the majority of this season.

Given the fisticuffs that occurred earlier in the Bruins-Rangers game, it seem the NHL has really gotten into the spirit of Black Friday.

(All videos courtesy

Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

Matt Beleskey, Derek Stepan

Alain Vigneault remembers a late hit that happened in Boston one time.

The Rangers’ head coach referenced it today after one of his top centers, Derek Stepan, was injured on a check that the NHL may need to review with a stopwatch.

“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” Vigneault said, per Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.

For those that need their memories refreshed (nobody in Vancouver does, that’s for sure), here’s Rome’s late hit that knocked Nathan Horton out of the 2011 final with a concussion:

Now here’s the hit that Matt Beleskey put on Stepan:

According to Vigneault, Stepan has some broken ribs and is out indefinitely.

Over to you, Department of Player Safety.


A league source has confirmed that the hit is being reviewed.

High-flying Bruins (sounds weird to say) beat Rangers for fifth straight win


Somebody tell the Boston Bruins there’s a goal-scoring crisis in the NHL.

This afternoon, for the 14th time this season, a Bruins game featured at least six goals. The final score was 4-3, as Boston came back to beat the Rangers in a wildly entertaining Thanksgiving Showdown on NBC.

David Krejci scored the winner with 1:43 remaining. Krejci’s goal came just 2:03 after teammate Ryan Spooner had tied it on the power play.

The win was the Bruins’ fifth straight. Though the defensive mistakes remain…

…Claude Julien’s troops have been finding ways to overcome them.

The running and gunning Boston Bruins.

When was the last time you could call them that?