PHILADELPHIA (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins’ attempt at an epic comeback against their cross-state rivals came to an end Sunday afternoon.
Claude Giroux set the tone on the first shift with a big hit on Sidney Crosby and a goal just 32 seconds into the game as the Flyers ended the Penguins’ season with a 5-1 win in Game 6.
Pittsburgh was looking to capitalize on momentum generated from two straight wins after falling behind 3-0 in the series, but a slow start was too much to overcome in this game, and ultimately the series.
Giroux got the Flyers on the board with a laser of a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot that ticked off the short side post and behind Fleury. It was the Flyers’ first shot of the game.
An ill-advised interference penalty on Matt Cooke at the offensive blue line gave the Flyers their first chance on the power play in the game.
The Flyers went to work and Fleury came up with a big save on a one-timer by Giroux, but could not find the loose puck in the crease. Scott Hartnell played to the whistle and dove at the loose puck to poke it under Fleury for a 2-0 lead.
The score would remain unchanged for the remainder of the period, with the Flyers holding a 10-9 advantage in shots.
In the second period, Erik Gustafsson’s wrist shot from just inside the blue line grazed Zbynek Michalek’s stick enough to fool Fleury and put Philadelphia up 3-0. The goal seemed to stun the Penguins.
About three minutes later, the Penguins went on the power play and Malkin buried his third goal of the series to cut the lead to 3-1.
Any momentum that goal generated was wiped out almost immediately as Danny Briere was given credit for a goal that deflected off of a Penguin in front and barely trickled across the line. The goal came on the first shift following Malkin’s goal.
In the third period, Brayden Schenn added an empty net goal to put an exclamation point on the Flyers’ effort in Game 6.
For whatever reason, the Penguins looked tired for much of the game. They failed to put much pressure on Ilya Bryzgalov, who had been suspect in the cage for the Flyers for the duration of the series.
The Penguins have now failed to advance beyond the second round in three straight years, with this being the second straight exit in the first round.
Philadelphia became the first team in the Eastern Conference to advance this season and will have to wait for the other three series to end before they know who their next opponent will be.