The Flyers’ special teams have been, well, special, in taking a stunning three-games-to-none lead in their series with the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins
The Flyers are a ridiculous 6 for 10 on the power play _ including 4 for 7 in Sunday’s wild 8-4 win att he Wells Fargo Center _ and they have added three shorthanded goals, two by Max Talbot.
“We said at the beginning that special teams and discipline were going to be two key factors,” said Mr. Post-Season, Danny Briere, after another two-goal performance, including a power-play tally that gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead. “Our power play has been responding and our penalty kill, for the most part, has been excellent.”
On Sunday, the Flyers’ special teams outscored the Penguins, 5-1.
As a result, the Flyers will be aiming for their first playoff sweep Wednesday since 1995, when they beat the Rangers in four straight in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
“That’s the goal now,” said Briere, adding that the Penguins were still “dangerous.”
The most amazing thing is that the Flyers are on the verge of a sweep despite getting shaky goaltending from Ilya Bryzgalov.
But it hasn’t mattered because they have scored an astounding 20 goals in three games.
So much for the tight-checking playoffs, eh?
The Flyers have scored 16 goals in their last two wins. That’s the most goals in consecutive playoff games in franchise history.
“It’s awesome. It’s playoff hockey,” said Flyers rookie forward Brayden Schenn, who chipped in with a pair of assists. “You can see how hard everyone is competing and the hatred between the two teams. It’s a lot of fun.”
Not for the Penguins.
“Too many turnovers…and every time we put the puck in the net, they come right back,” said Pittsburgh forward James Neal, whose team blew a 3-0 lead in Game 1, a 2-0 lead in Game 2 and a 1-0 lead in Game 3.
“We have to focus on one game….one win,” Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby said.
Before the series started, the Penguins had been picked by Las Vegas as the Stanley Cup favorites. But in three games, Marc-Andre Fleury, generally regarded as one of the league’s elite goalies, has a 6.34 GAA and a .798 save percentage.
Credit the Flyers’ resilience. Credit their perfect blend of youngsters and veterans. Credit their special teams.
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Scott Hartnell is sick of Crosby’s antics after the whistle.
“I think Crosby started almost every scrum,” Hartnell said. “….If they’re trying to get under our skin, they’re not. They’re just getting more frustrated with themselves, which is great.”
Crosby had two of the Penguins’ 20 penalties _ one for fighting, the other for roughing.