The Pittsburgh Penguins spent the first three games of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series out-of-whack and out of the win column.
And after Philadelphia’s Kimmo Timonen and Jakub Voracek scored twice in 46 seconds during a lengthy first-peroid power play, Game 4 looked to be following a similar trajectory. But the Penguins answered — and then something remarkable happened. They stopped taking penalties.
Leading 4-3 going into the second period, Pittsburgh let the Flyers fill the penalty box for a change. They drew seven minor penalties and turned them into five goals — three coming on the power play. From there, the Penguins cruised to a 10-3 win to stave off elimination, at least for one night.
“We’ve given ourselves a chance to get back to Pittsburgh,” said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby who had a goal and two assists. “And that’s all we wanted out of this game.”
Much had been made of Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s struggles between the pipes in the series (20 goals allowed and an .817 save percentage), but now Ilya Bryzgalov will be under the microscope after giving up 14 goals in his last 7-plus periods.
“At that point, Bryz needed to come out,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said of his decision to lift his starting goalie early in the second period. “Generally speaking, we all need to be better at what we do. But he needed to come out of that situation. So, I changed it up, tried to shake the tree a little bit.”
But Sergei Bobrovsky was no better as he allowed four goals in the second period and another in the third.
Like Pittsburgh, Vancouver desperately needed to change things up in Game 4 to avoid a disastrous exit after winning the Presidents’ Trophy.
They got it in the form of leading scorer Daniel Sedin whose return from a 12-game absence sparked a sputtering offense.
Anze Kopitar beat Canucks goalie Cory Schneider to give the Kings the lead midway through the first period, and send their home crowd into a frenzy. But Vancouver — which has its share of lengthy postseason series over the last several years — grabbed the lead early in the second on a power play goal from Alexander Edler and another tally from Kevin Bieksa.
Daniel Sedin registered his first point of the postseason in the third, with an assist on his brother Henrik’s goal to seal the win and send Vancouver back home for Game 5 on Sunday. Sidelined for four weeks due to concussion symptoms, Daniel Sedin saw more than 19 minutes of ice time and looked no worse for the wear.
“It's unbelievable how good those guys are together, the way they control the puck and make plays,” winger David Booth told the Vancouver Sun. “When those two feed off each other like they do and one goes down, you're going to miss that. That's a chemistry that I think the whole team feeds off. It's good to have Danny back.”
Schneider, who replaced Roberto Luongo in net for Game 3, continued his inspired play with 43 saves and should get the nod again for Game 5.
Ottawa is proving it takes a little overtime work to topple the best team in the East.
It was Ottawa’s second overtime win in the series — which is now knotted a 2-2 — and the ninth overtime game in eight days of postseason action.
“I’ve just lived every kid’s Stanley Cup dream,” Turris said. “It was a great play by O’Brien. It was kind of a long shift in our zone and right when he got it I was actually thinking of changing, but I saw it was a 2-on-2. I just tried to use the (defenseman) as a screen to get it on net.”
The win snapped a seven-game home playoff losing skid for the Senators and sets up an intriguing Game 5 matchup on Saturday night in New York.
Goalie Craig Anderson outshone Lundqvist, stopping 31 shots including several key saves during the pivotal second period.
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