Sunday, April 22, 2012

Flyers kick Penguins to the curb

Pennsylvania now belongs to the Flyers. 

There was certainly reason to be nervous after how Games 4 and 5 went but the Flyers quickly put any thoughts of a possible Penguins series win to bed by jumping out to an early lead in Game 6 and never looking back.  In the series that had a little bit of everything, Game 6 was fairly normal as the Flyers dominated from start to finish, winning 5-1 to send the Penguins packing.

Claude Giroux set the early tone for the Flyers, first crushing Sidney Crosby then picking up a goal 32 seconds into the game.  Giroux later added a pair of assists and continues his emergence into the upper echelon of hockey players.  In a series that featured Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, supposedly two of the top 5 players in the world, Claude Giroux was often the best player on the ice.

The series was also a coming out party for Sean Couturier, who not only had a hat trick in Game 2 but also made it his personal mission to shut down Malkin.  While Malkin had a fair amount of points, Couturier shut him down at critical moments and continually got under his skin.  It will be a lot of fun watching the 19 year old Couturier own Malkin for years to come.

With the Penguins pushed aside, the Flyers now wait for their next opponent.  Who they will play is still pretty up in the air depending on the outcomes of the Rangers/Senators and Bruins/Capitals series.  With the Flyers already having beaten the supposed Cup favorite, a deep playoff run certainly seems like a strong possibility.

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