Survive and advance. Among the oddities of this series, one that stands out is this: Some of the most dominating periods have also been the most fruitless.
Take tonight’s 3-0 Flyers victory in Game 5 in Pittsburgh. Looking to bury their cross-state antagonizers, Pittsburgh fired 15 first-period shots at Marty Biron, created all kinds of turnovers in the offensive zone – and came up with nada.
The Flyers survived thanks to Marty Biron and some lucky breaks. Biron, who deserved a better fate in his 46-save effort of Game 2, stoned Evgeni Malkin twice and Sidney Crosby once close range in that first period – each after a Flyers giveaway. He also had a little luck. Tyler Kennedy botched a wraparound into a wide open net, hitting the post.
With the Penguins on a power play midway through the third, the puck bounced off Biron’s back pad, hovered endlessly in the crease, and was finally covered.
The second period had none of that early intensity, and the game began to even out. The Flyers in fact, held an early 6-1 shot advantage when Arron Asham blasted a slapshot over the left shoulder of Marc Andre Fleury at 6:32, giving the Flyers the first goal and a huge shot of confidence.
Malkin momentarily tied it a few minutes later, but a replay clearly showed he had kicked it into the net. Mike Knuble had the Flyers best chance of that period after that, trying to settle a bouncing puck as he swerved towards the middle of the crease, but he couldn’t muster anything on the shot.
The Flyers outshot the Penguins 11-5 in the second. Knuble had four of those shots, six over the first two periods. Malkin, who had three great chances in the first period, was held to one shot in the second period. Crosby, who had two shots in the first period, did not register one in the second.