It’s another thing entirely when a team comes out and puts up double digits on the scoreboard while facing elimination. In a hockey game.
The final score of Wednesday’s opening-round Game 4 matchup between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins may have looked like a football score—but the Eagles and Steelers are enjoying the offseason right now—or even a baseball score—but the Phillies aren’t playing the Pirates right now—but as crazy as Pittsburgh’s 10-3 victory looks on paper, the game taught us what we should have already learned by now regarding this series: expect the unexpected.
Sure, it looked like the Flyers had the series all tied up just 1:16 in the first period when the playoffs’ leading scorer, Claude Giroux, ignited the Wells Fargo Center with his fifth goal of the postseason. However, Evegeni Malkin would respond just minutes later to tie the game at one, and the back-and-forth theme of the series would begin to ensue.
But this time, amazingly, it was the depleted Penguins who would pull away in the end of this one, culminating in a second-period Jordan Staal hat trick. The Pens would score eight unanswered, make this the third straight game in this series a team scored at least eight goals.
Coming out on the short end of the stick for the first time in the series, the Flyers weren’t too happy with the way they performed.
“I think we got embarrassed in front of our fans,” said Giroux. ”I think guys kind of forgot they’ve got two of the best players in the world on the other side. Maybe we thought it would be easy in front of our fans. We’re not happy about it.”
As you could imagine, goaltending wasn’t exactly spectacular. Ilya Bryzgalov was pulled after allowing his fifth goal, and backup Sergei Bobrovsky allowed four goals on 13 shots working in relief. And although Marc Andre Fleury picked up the win, he didn’t have his best game either.
Fights, misconducts, suspensions, video-game goal totals…the only thing that would make this series any better is if the Penguins pull off the miracle of coming all the way back to force a Game 7. They’ll begin that quest on Monday with Game 5 back in Pittsburgh.