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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Biron's Gaffe Gives Pens Much Needed Win

I'm still shaking as I type this. What an incredible hockey game in Philadelphia today. It's a shame it ended the way it did though.


Here's what happened late in the third period with the score tied 4-4:

Biron comes way out to beat Pascal Dupuis to the puck. Biron ends up sliding on his face/side to the top of the right circle with the puck in his glove. Now for those of you not up on hockey rules, he cannot cover the puck out that high without getting a delay of game penalty. With what happened next, the two minute penalty may have been the better option.

Biron turns his back to Dupuis and gets to his knees. He attempts to flip the puck away from danger with his glove, but the puck gets caught in the webbing and goes straight up in the air, hits him in the back and rolls down to the now assembled crowd around him.

Somehow, Dupuis gets his stick on the puck and throws it toward the net. Sidney Crosby beats his man with a pool-cue shot to the empty cage for the eventual game-winning goal.

Video Highlights Courtesy Of

Complete insanity would best describe the goal and the rest of the third period.

The Pens led 3-1 after two and everything was going their way. They were dictating the pace and play for the majority of the first 40 minutes. Then Mike Richards scored his seventh shorthanded goal of the season to cut the lead to 3-2.

Ryan Whitney had the puck at the point on the far side and attempted a pass to Sergei Gonchar along the blueline that Richards read beautifully. Richards was in clean from his own blueline and made a nifty move on Marc-Andre Fleury to slip it between the pads for the goal.

That goal gave the Flyers a new found life and left me sick to my stomach.

Exactly three minutes and thirty seconds later, Hal Gill breaks his stick in the defensive zone with Philly applying good pressure. Petr Sykora slides down to hand him his stick.

Naturally, the puck comes back to the point to Matt Carle who easily gets away from Sykora and finds Braydon Coburn across the blueline. Coburn unloads on a one-timer and Penguins' defenseman Rob Scuderi failed to block the shot. In fact, Scuderi got a petty impressive tip-in goal to tie the game at 3-3.

The Pens would not be outdone however, as they re-gained the lead just over three minutes later on a great effort by Dupuis.

Gonchar moved into the neutral zone and attempted a pass to Dupuis that missed. It was now a race for the puck to beat out an icing call for Dupuis, who did just that.

Dupuis easily beats his man to the puck and chips it to Crosby at the bottom of the nearside faceoff circle from his knees. Crosby threads he needle through three Flyers to Ruslan Fedotenko, who was wide open in the slot. Fedotenko made no mistake and buries it behind Biron for his second goal of the game.

I'm now breathing a little easier because the Pens didn't fold again. They kept skating despite blowing another two-goal lead in the third period. This stat made me feel a little better too. The Pens were 20-1 this season when scoring four goals in a game, according to FSN Pittsburgh. Make that 21-1 now.

Five minutes later, the Flyers struck back again to tie it at 4-4. Fleury made an impressive rebound save on Simon Gagne forcing a faceoff to his right. The Penguins win the draw and the puck comes to Gonchar, who has his stick fail him miserably.

Gagne steals the puck and passes it to Richards amid the confusion of Max Talbot handing his stick to Gonchar. Richards finds Mike Knuble streaking to the back post and Brooks Orpik was very late to pick him up. Knuble has an empty net to hit and he doesn't miss.

A few minutes later, Biron decides he doesn't like winning and hands the Pens two points. Thanks again Marty!

I can't take this. It's February and I'm already teetering on that line of having an ulcer or a heart attack. Take your pick.

As for what happened earlier in the game, Joffrey Lupul put the Flyers up 1-0 after the first period on a rebound goal. Scott Hartnell threw one on net up high on Fleury, who left a rebound at the feet of Orpik who whiffed on the clearing attempt. Lupul pounced and beat Fleury. In Orpik's defense, the puck was bouncing but you still have to make a play on it.

Here's another daunting stat for you. Before the game the Flyers were 21-2 when leading after the first period. Make that 21-3 now.

Despite the early deficit, the Pens were getting their chances and Dan Bylsma changed up the lines for the start of the second period by putting Crosby with Evgeni Malkin.

That duo made Bylsma look like a genius.

Just 21 seconds into the frame, Malkin picks off a pass and leads the rush up ice. As they enter the zone he feeds Fedotenko who immediately drops the puck back to Crosby.

Sid the Kid unleashes a wicked wrister from long range that catches iron and goes in to tie the game at 1-1.

I have to say from personal experience, there's nothing worse in net than hearing iron ringing behind you and having the red light come on. Those posts are supposed to be your friend and when they get angry at you, you could be in for a long night.

Just about seven minutes later, the Penguins take the lead on the powerplay. I know! A powerplay goal from a team that has been struggling of late with the man-advantage.

Crosby had the puck on the far-side half-boards and lays a nice pass cross-ice through the box to Ryan Whitney.

Whitney feeds the trigger man Gonchar, who tees it up and bombs one on net that Malkin tips home. The FSN crew showed a super slow-mo replay of it and the puck actually deflected twice just feet from Biron.

Gonchar's shot hit Sykora in the skate and then Malkin's stick. Easiest assist of Sykora's career I'm sure, but the Pens weren't done lighting the lamp in the period.

Five minutes later some controversy occurs.

Crosby and Dupuis lead the rush up the ice. Sid flips a pass to Dupuis just before they hit the blueline, but it appeared as if Dupuis was in the zone ahead of the puck.

The rule states that if you have control of the puck, your body can enter the zone ahead of the puck.

Upon further review, Dupuis did have control of the puck so the linesman made the correct call. Dupuis sees and finds Fedotenko screaming into the zone for a one-timer off the crossbar and in.

At the end of the period, the Pens were forced to kill a four-minute double minor to Malkin. The Pens applied fantastic pressure and held the Flyers to only two shots.

Unfortunately, the Pens don't have much time to celebrate this big win over their cross-state rivals. They travel to Washington to take on the Caps in NBC's Game of the Week.

These two wins are huge, but a win tomorrow puts us on a streak.

Here's the updated Hal Gill Quotient:

Ryan Whitney - 3.5 - 5 GP
Kris Letang - 2.84 - 3 Games Played
Marc-Andre Fleury - 2.33 - 5 GP
Sergei Gonchar - 1.75 - 4 GP
Hal Gill - 1.59 - 4 GP
Mark Eaton - 1.83 - 5 GP
Brooks Orpik - 1.25
Matt Cooke - 1.0 - 5 GP
Jordan Staal - 1.0 - 5 GP
Rob Scuderi - 0.5
Referee Paul Devorski - 0.5 - 1 Game Reffed
Bill Thomas - .33 - 4 GP
Pascal Dupuis - .33 - 5 GP

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