Marc-Andre Fleury watches a goal slip past him
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Apparently at some point Thursday night the Penguins decided they were only going to play one period. "Hell" said Crosby, "let's make it a real challenge." [not an official statement, strictly a work of fiction]
That would almost seem like the Penguins' game plan for Game 4, a disappointing performance at best. The Penguins and Flyers each mustered up 21 minutes of penalty time, but the advantage was by far in Philly's favor. Pittsburgh's inability to stay clear of the box early in the game resulted in 10 minutes of penalties in the first and three Philadelphia goals; two of which came on the man advantage.
Fleury maintained a healthy presence in net from the second period on, but it was his offense's inability to muster up an attack and Marty Biron's goaltending that kept the game close but too far from Pitt's reach.
In typical 'sleeper mode', the only attack from Pittsburgh's end came from the stick of Jordan Staal. In the wake of his grandfather's passing, Staal tallied both goals four and five of the postseason and played with unbridled tenacity for goal number three. But it was Philly's Joffrey Lupul who got the final say with the empty net notch for his second of the game and the final goal of the 4-2 finale.
Overall - horrible game. Philadelphia came out of the gate needing a win and they played like it was their last game of the season. Despite efforts of coming back later in the game, Pitt should have never found themselves in that position to begin with. A terrible first period resulted in desperation attempts for the remainder of the game. Wild passing, off target shots and poor center ice puck handling caused a break in momentum and a boost to the Philly squad.
To say Pitt dropped this game in favor of winning the series at home would be a lie. They're not about ready to play a selective game at this point. Each and every guy out there on the ice is anxious to finish this series and move on to the next round. But if Philly has their way this won't be ending anytime soon.
Game 5 in Pittsburgh Sunday at 7:30.