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Last night I started to write a post about yesterday’s Penguins-Flyers game but struggled to get my many thoughts into an articulate piece. Instead it was just a bunch of rambling so I decided to sleep on it and come back to it today with a (hopefully) fresh perspective.

First, I’m disappointed in this series so far. The Penguins-Flyers series was expected to be great because it involves two highly-skilled teams that have a deep rivalry. Instead I’m left talking about superstars fighting instead of scoring. I’m for fighting in hockey but outsiders to the sport think its reckless and a gimmick. When fighting becomes the storyline in the playoffs the league suffers and its reputation is diminished. It should also be noted that Penguins forwards James Neal and Arron Asham have hearings tomorrow with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

Next, the goaltending needs to step up. Ilya Bryzgalov is the highest paid goaltender in the league and Marc-Andre Fleury is 9th according to CapGeek.com but they have allowed a combined 29 goals through three games. To put that into perspective, the Los Angeles-Vancouver series and the Detroit-Nashville series (which have both completed three games each) have scored a combined 26 goals. Fleury has certainly fared worse with a .768 save percentage and a 6.34 goals against average so far in this postseason. He ranks last in both categories out of the 17 goaltenders that have started a game in the playoffs. Bryzgalov’s .868 save percentage and 3.96 goals against average rank second to last out of all goaltenders in the playoffs. Both have let in soft goals at bad times for their teams this series. Below are examples of both from yesterday’s game.

Lastly, special teams have played a crucial role in this series. The Penguins have allowed three shorthanded goals in three games. Two of those shorthanded goals were scored by former Penguin Max Talbot. Pittsburgh has also scored three goals on the power play, but Philly has doubled that with six power play goals in three games, including four from yesterday alone.

Wednesday’s Game 4 should be interesting but I’m guessing cooler heads will prevail since the Flyers can close out the series with a sweep. It will also be intriguing to see what punishment the NHL will hand out to Neal and Asham and the effect that will have on Game 4 in Philadelphia.

 





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