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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Flyers 5, Penguins 1


PHILADELPHIA — Looking ahead to faceoff …

Game: Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers, Game 6, Stanley Cup playoffs first round

Series: Flyers, 3-2.

Time: 12:08 p.m.

Site: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

TV, radio: NBC, 105.9 The X

Here is the official live summary.

Updates are on our Penguins page. I’ll be column-izing off this game, and we’ll have the usual Trib team on the scene, led by beat writer Josh Yohe.


  1. pghboyinca says:

    I can’t wait fo thsi game to start, the chance to see a game 7 after the first 3 seems to good to be true, It is time for Malkin to take over a game and win it.

  2. Nate says:

    On man, can’t believe we’re at Game 6.

    True playoffs.
    True grit.

    Go Pens.

  3. Jonathan says:

    2am start here on the gold coast. I might need a few drinks tonight to calm my nerves for this one.

  4. likeabugonarug says:

    Again, only one thing to say: LET’S GO PENS!!!

  5. Curt says:

    If they could win and force a Game 7, that would be ridiculous!
    Dare I say the most epic comeback in sports playoffs history?!?
    And Let’s Go Pens!

  6. RobertoForever says:


    Pens are lucky to have fans stay up all night to watch. Hope they make it worth it.

    Lets go Pens

  7. Pongo says:

    I’m really surprised Laviolette has his top 3 D playing all those minutes. (See Yohe, Josh). And I hate today’s noon start, wonder how the players feel about it? The NHL has us at noon so they can have a Sunday doubleheader. So many intangibles have gone the Pens way now (Flyer D, Bryzgalov, pressure on them), this is so exciting to reach this day. Let’s go Pens!

  8. hockeymonster says:

    This game will be all about coaching and discipline. Dont be surprised if philly makes some adjustments to create more offense so it will be on coach bylsma to anticipate. Expect philly to bring more skaters back into their zone so they can rush the puck up ice as a unit out-numbering our 3 trapping forwards. If pens are on the ball it could be one odd-man rush after another for us. Hope i dont jinx it but just my prediction that we win 5-2 today and 6-2 on tuesday on the strength of our d and coaching.

  9. Davedigspgplus says:

    Let’s hope this is a pretty good hockey game.

    Cause we’re all going to Hell.

  10. Davedigspgplus says:

    Philly played a strong game on Friday. I think they are comfortable with their overall performance in that game. It took about 10 spectacular saves by Fleury to hold them off.

    I’m guessing their approach is that he can’t do that again today in Philly.

    And I would agree with them, as much as I like Fleury.

    I don’t see the Pens winning another true hockey game today. The offense needs to deliver at least 5 goals. Maybe a 6th in OT.

  11. DavedigsDKsblog says:

    Losing Game 3 and the manner in which things unfolded, really tested the resolve of the Penguins and at the same time the city in which they represent. It really got down to the heart and soul of all of us, similar to the way it would when our country is attacked and looking defeated.

    They have gained an enormous level of respect back, I think, win or lose. But they need to approach it the same way as they did when they were down 0-3. Now that they’re back to 3-2 they don’t want to step back even the slightest bit.

  12. DavedigsDKsblog says:

    The Steelers got routed by the Ravens in the season opener last year.

    The Steelers lost 51-0 to Cleveland in 1989, also a season opener.

    Truly embarrassing losses, but they were season openers.

    I think getting swept by the Flyers in four games this series would’ve been the most humiliating defeat in Pittsburgh sports history.

    Glad we recovered from that.

  13. NewGuyTim says:

    I had so much adrenaline pumping during the 3rd period of the last game, you’d think I was playing in the game — the entertainment value of this series has been phenomenal. Let’s go Pens! Play like champions today.

  14. DavedigsDKsblog says:

    This is as good as it gets from a viewing standpoint. I like every sport about equal so there is no bias whatsoever. Considering all factors — the action, the skill, the clean physicality, the unclean physicality, the hatred, the urgency, the intangibles — this is as good as any sporting event.

    Should be in primetime tonight on NBC (the real NBC).

  15. Eric Bowser says:

    No Grossman (concussion) for Flyers or Martin (?) for Penguins.

    Let’s Go Pens!

  16. Poz says:

    A rainy day here in Severn, MD. Wife is out doing volunteer work. A great opportunity to spend the day in the man cave watching the Pens.

  17. Eric Bowser says:

    Bylsma changes the lineup as Tangradi scratched, Vitale dressed. No wonder Tangradi can never get going, just when he has two good efforts with limited ice time, he gets benched.

  18. Poz says:

    Turnover = goal.

  19. Eric Bowser says:

    Giroux starts game on a mission with big check on Crosby, then on rush up ice, Sullivan gives an ole to Giroux and all that time and space allows Giroux to fire off his favorite whipping wrist shot by Fleury.

  20. Poz says:

    I think Niskanen hit the post on the PP.

  21. Eric Bowser says:

    Too many players on the wrong side of ice to shoot the puck. This team has got to find a way to mentally train these guys on where to go for quality chances.

  22. Poz says:

    Pens with time in Flyers end. Lots of skatng around by Malkin but so far no great scoring opportunities. But as long as the puck is in the Flyers end it is going to be hard for the Flyers to score.

  23. Poz says:

    Cooke sees the guy and takes a stupid interference penalty.

  24. Poz says:

    Pens penalty kill looks like it’s playing in mud as the shooting gallery continues…another Flyers PP goal. 2-0.

  25. Eric Bowser says:

    Malkin and Crosby need to get the puck to the net, shoot it, and be the best. The Penguins can’t win with Staal being their best player and Giroux dominating.

  26. Poz says:

    Flyers on the PP again.

  27. Poz says:

    Flyers stars outplaying Pens stars by a wide margin.

  28. Poz says:

    And Neal ends the period with a cheap shot at Jagr’s head. Luckily, no call.

  29. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Angry Birds!

    Pens will dominate the second and third periods.

  30. Eric Bowser says:

    Not real pleased to see Malkin hyperventilating all over the ice again, Neal taking another stupid shot to someone’s head, and Crosby nowhere to be seen.

    40 minutes left, Fleury must not allow another goal and our best (Malkin/Crosby) must score goals.

  31. Poz says:

    Agree Eric. Malkin, especially, needs to play with a sense of urgency that reflects the situation.

  32. Poz says:

    Vitale misses a golden opportunity.

  33. florida steeler says:

    Crosby and Malkin–so damn good that Geroux is making them look like Jr. Hockey Players. And, Fleury–he stinks!!!!

  34. Poz says:

    Absolutely horrible. 1 on 4 and pucks evades Fleury for one of the softest of soft goals…

  35. Eric Bowser says:

    atrocious defense to just give Gustafsson about 10 feet of free ice and really bad goal by Fleury.

    I think that’s the season right there.

  36. This was too much to ask of them to win four straight, but they only have themselves to blame. Having the very large leads that they had in the first couple games is just not good to lose the games from.

  37. florida steeler says:

    Tell me how Bylsma can remain?? But, Shero is responsible for putting together a team with horrible defensemen!!!

  38. @Eric, I think the season is when he gave up the first goal today on the first shot after only 32 seconds. He loves doing that is these games.

  39. Poz says:

    Malkin open and hits the post from two feet away

  40. Poz says:

    The team scoring first hasn’t won yet. But that thrid goal is probably it. And the Pens almost give up a short handed goal. At this minute there is more desire on the part of the Flyers.

  41. Poz says:

    Malkin – finally!

  42. Eric Bowser says:

    Crosby coughs up puck to Couturier that is stopped and then up ice, Malkin finally gets into scoring real estate and scores on PP. 3-1 Flyersr

  43. Eric Bowser says:

    and just like that, 1:26 later Briere scores as Orpik watches at side of net. 4-1 Flyers

  44. florida steeler says:

    another nice stop by that useless Fleury.

  45. Poz says:

    Fleury clearing struggling. Unable to corral rebounds. Sloppy defense not helping Fleury, but he is not bailing them out like last game.

  46. Poz says:

    @Eric. Though there is 20 minutes left and anything can happen, it is now the Flyers game to lose. The Pens defense is bad, the stars are not shining, and Fleury isn’t bailing them out. So during the break, I want to again thank you for the great insight this season.

    My questions to you if the score holds. Do you agree that the season was a huge disappointment even though the Pens came back to win two? Where do you place most of the blame?

    Thanks again, Eric.

  47. Nate says:

    The Flower has wilted. Three soft goals, including the standard soft back-breaking goal just seconds after the Pens got back into it at 3-1.

    Looking forward to Blysma being let go to institute a more defensive system that will brings playoff success. Since the Cup, which was Therrien’s team and system, he’s 1-3 in playoff series, including two straight first round exits, losing two Game 7’s on home ice, losing playoff games by the score of 8-2 and 8-5 on home ice, and has not shown the ability to succeed with supposedly elite talent. His teams have been down 2 games to none in three (Washington, Detroit, Philly) of his eight playoff series.

    Game 1’s collapse cost them the series.

    Other observations:
    – Neal looks like he should be at Sunday brunch
    – Michalek is unable to clear the zone
    – Philly’s big line has been consistently matched up with Engelland and Niskanen.
    – Pens can’t get through the neutral zone
    – Pens seem content to play on the periphery – a la the Montreal series.

    Clearly there’s a formula to beat the Pens in the playoffs. Can’t live off the back-to-back Cup appearances anymore. Broad changes are needed. This team is not built for playoff success.

  48. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    No swagger for the Pens at all.

    Fleury is too leaky to win this game.

    Season fading fast…

    One last LET’S GO PENS!

  49. Eric Bowser says:


    I’ve said for quite some time, Dan Bylsma’s time is about up. I have not been a fan of his work on the power play, not getting PK minutes to Crosby and Malkin, mixing up defensive pairings so badly no one knows where to play, and did nothing from an adjustment perspective until he was forced into it in game four because Neal, Adams, and Asham were suspended.

  50. Poz says:

    Stupid slash by Niskanen.

  51. Eric Bowser says:

    2-minutes on PK, Bylsma doesn’t see need to put Crosby or Malkin on the ice while being down three goals. Just brilliant coaching by Bylsma….

    Total collapse from top to bottom.

  52. Poz says:

    Either Malkin is hurt or he is moping…maybe both. And Crosby is invisible. Flyers prime timers step up. Pens stars step back.

  53. Poz says:

    Finally, an energy play by Malkin….needed it from the beginning.

  54. Poz says:

    Bry making the saves Fleury could not.

  55. Eric Bowser says:

    Enjoy these last few minutes, it will be the final time watching the core together.

    Time to make changes, CBA mandates it.

  56. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Love the comments here —-

    How many points did this team have again?? You all need to relax and realize it just wasn’t meant to be this year. Chill…just chill.

  57. Kevin says:

    In total agreement Playoffs…everyone needs to realize that if there was ANY team that could beat the Pens it was the Flyers. Just not meant to be this year.

  58. Eric Bowser says:

    Salary cap will force changes on the roster and I’ve been saying Bylsma should go since December, so what happened in the playoffs didn’t really change much but validate the moves Shero made last summer didn’t work and three straight playoffs, Bylsma had no answer for the opposition’s game plan to attack his system.

    As for me, I’m heading outside for a few to do some yard work before Snow-mageddon.

  59. Poz says:

    This team was supposed to contend for the Cup, not get knocked out in the first round while giving up a record amount of goals.

    Frankly, watching the Pens turn the puck over and play poor defense gives me the chills. And hopefully, the Pens management will take a more critical view of what happened, rather than kick their feet up and chill until next season rolls along.

    It’s pouring here, but there is a covered driving range. I’m going to hit balls.

    Let’s go Pens…..

  60. likeabugonarug says:

    Was Paul Martin somewhere saying: “Well fans, you can’t blame this one on me.”?

    Playoffs and Kevin, IMO you are right. The flys were the only team that worried me. Their stars came through, and so did the majority of their team. Face it folks, they were the better team! They are still leaky in goal, we got very little sustained pressure on Bryz all game, but depending on what happens today and tomorrow their path to the finals could be so much easier. Nemesis number 2, NJ, is gone. Nemesis number 1, NYR, could be bounced tomorrow. And they took the Pens out. Hopefully one of the remaining teams can take them out before they get there.

    It really stinks to lose, but it really stinks to lose to this team. Not going to be fun at work tomorrow!

  61. Kevin says:

    To add another tale of woe…looking at the other teams remaining in the playoffs, I don’t think any would have stopped the Pens. I realize that is easy to say now, but I don’t believe any other team could have beaten us in a seven game series.

  62. Peter says:

    playing the Flyers…not meant to be, like last year + next year + the year after, but the Pens will win 50 each year

  63. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Good Lord, such doom and gloom. You all act like it’s been 50 years since you’d last won a cup.

    How many teams win it back-to-back?
    Hell, how many teams win 2 in 5 years?
    How many win 2 in 10 years?


  64. Peter says:

    the Penguins lost their third consecutive best-of-seven

  65. Bogdan says:

    This loss feels similar to the ’94 first round playoff defeat by the Caps…

  66. Tim says:

    Did Sid play today?

  67. Joe says:

    At the end of the day, it was the Pens special teams and goaltending that ended this season. The Flyers (I think) were over 50% on their PP, and the Pens gave up (I believe) 4 shorthanded goals and many other shorthanded chances. Fleury gave up way too many soft goals and only played 1 solid game (Game 5). And the Flyers game plan to shut down Crosby and Malkin was nearly perfect.

    Firing the coach is the most popular answer when a season doesn’t result in a championship, but at the end of the day, the players have to make plays. And Philly simply made more plays at the end of the day.

    When the Pens dominated the first 2 periods of Game 1 and were up 3-0 going into the 3rd Period, then managed to choke that away and lost in OT, I knew that was a bad omen. They then had a big lead in Game 2 and lost that one as well.

    There’s a reason only 4 times in history teams who are down 3-0 across the 3 major sports have come back to win the series. It’s because that team was bad enough or mistake-prone enough to lose 3 in a row to manage to lose the 4th.

  68. Poz says:

    Careful Peter. Pointing out the early exists might be considered gloom and doom.


    There were no expectations that the Pens would do anything in these playoffs. Congratulate them, especially the Pens stars on how well they played this series.

    It’s all good.

    I’m certain Mario and the rest of the Pens brass are relaxing and content after the loss.

  69. Poz says:

    Thanks for providing the forum. Though it was a disappointing end (in my opinion anyway), it was fun sharing thoughts with fellow fans. Appreciate it.

  70. Paulie says:

    Big changes are coming

  71. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    OK, I’ll join the gaggle of wanna-be GM’s.

    TRADE CROSBY! He obviously can’t lead this team in the playoffs anymore.

  72. Tim says:

    Giroux best player in series. Sid not fully back – didn’t have the jump this series – They’ve got to to something with that Martin contract. Albatross. Other than that, need a big body D (or two) get away from the D trying to be O, 1 through 6.

    Biggest disappointment is the PK. Just astonishing how badly they looked. How can you collapse that badly. Granted Philly is pretty dynamic on the PP, but who saw that coming?

  73. Milo Hamilton says:

    Vince Lombardi said it best. “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.”

  74. Luke Hoover says:

    I’m having flashbacks to the ’94 first round defeat to the Caps where the Pens were outworked by a hungrier team…. The ’94 squad was still chock full of hall-of-famers, but the fire was gone.

  75. Tim says:

    Who’s a good loser?

  76. Peter says:

    bottom line is that Crosby’s return did not help the Pens, they lost in the 1st round just like last year

  77. Milo Hamilton says:


    That was for some of the folks that posted earlier on.

  78. TJA says:

    I’m used to losing…I’m a Pirates fan!

  79. bob uecker says:

    Holmgren had the guts to shake up a Flyer team that lost the fire, will Shero?

  80. Bunch of fair weather fans... says:

    The Flyers were a physical matchup nightmare for the Pens. They are bigger and faster, as a whole, especially for D guys like Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek. Both were physically manhandled repeatedly. Strait and Despres should start next season with Orpik, Letang, Niskanen and Engelland. I would be happy to see trades involving Martin and Michalek for a couple power forwards. They are LACKING physicality up front.

    Fleury giving up soft ones, yet again, is just icing on the cake.

  81. Bunch of fair weather fans... says:

    Of course, the lousy officiating was a big help too. No one can justify Jagr not getting called for slashing the stick out of Neal’s hands at center ice, or Tallbot not getting called for kicking Neal’s skates out from under him along the boards, or Cooke getting called for interference while standing still at the offensive blue line because Schenn skated backwards into him. I could go on for days because it was like that the whole series.

  82. Tim says:

    fair weather: Cookes’ was his fault. Bad penalty. Martin, yes. I’m not so down on Michalek. On the other hand, I thought Orpik and Letang were very not good this series. Letang I think, has too much rope. Plus he turns the puck over WAY too much in his own zone. First goal today he turned if over, Sullivan fails to get it out of zone. Goal.

    Don’t get me wrong, love Orpik and Letang. Engellend and Niskanen are fine too. Michalek had a bad year, but he’ll be back. I just think fundamentally D-men need to play D first and O last. You don’t play D with your stick, you play it with your body and the Pens just don’t have the big bodies to do that right now. Bylsma and Shero are going to have a long summer to do something about this.

    Bummer. I was really looking forward to this playoff season.

  83. Eric Bowser says:

    Shot breakdown

    Shots attempted: Pens 383 – 303 Flyers
    Shots on goal: Pens 181 – 165 Flyers
    Shots Blocks: Pens 116 – 81 Flyers
    Shots Missed: Pens 84 – 57 Flyers

    Flyers got 54% of their attempts on net, Penguins only 47%

    This was much more than just bad play by Fleury or a defensive system that was compromised due to some inside information by Talbot or great scouting/game planning by Flyers.

    The team was horrible managing the puck on the breakouts, passing, and getting their shots on net.

  84. Milo Hamilton says:


    Any firings ?

  85. Milo Hamilton says:

    Peter Laviolette’s not getting enough credit for inventing the stretch pass.

  86. Milo Hamilton says:

    I should have said perfecting the stretch pass. We all know Paul MacLean invented it.

  87. Eric Bowser says:

    @Milo – I would go in a new direction in terms of style of play and that won’t happen with the current coaching staff in Pittsburgh. Bylsma waited until his hand was forced in game four with the suspensions of Adams, Asham, and Neal to make any kind of adjustment (personnel or system).

    I’ve been a critic of Bylsma for well over a year and since December, said he’s on the hot seat, so yeah, if they fire him, I won’t be surprised. If he’s fired, have to imagine it will be over the next few days.

  88. Milo Hamilton says:


    There has been a lot of talk about how unhappy Mario was after Game 3. I think we’ll see over the next week or so exactly how unhappy.

  89. Roy G Biv says:

    Can’t help but have flashbacks to the ’94 first round playoff loss to the Caps…. The ’93-94 Pens were still chock full of Hall-of-Famers, but couldn’t match the Caps intensity.

  90. Peter says:

    I’m angry about the loss, but I worry that I’ll get used to it after a few more.

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