dney Crosby tallied his third goal of the series at 16:19 of the first period and 70 seconds later Jordan Staal scored what would prove to be the game winner. Pittsburgh scored 10 goals in a playoff game for the first time in nearly 23 years. The last time the Penguins reached double figures was in a 10-7 win against the Flyers on April 25, 1989.
Game 4 followed a familiar trend early as the opening frame was littered with seven penalties and seven goals.
Steve Sullivan was flagged 17 seconds into the game for high-sticking a Flyer. Evgeni Malkin followed suit just 1:12 later.
Sullivan’s minor was enough for a potent Flyers team, however, as Claude Giroux potted his fifth marker of the series. Giroux–who entered the game as the NHL’s leading playoff scorer–was assisted by Jaromir Jagr and Wayne Simmonds on the goal.
Upon killing the second Penguins minor of the game, Pittsburgh found an open Malkin exiting the penalty box. The rush resulted in the Art Ross Trophy winner’s first goal of the series and a highlight sure to make NHL reels for years.
Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made the initial save on Malkin’s shot but then fumbled the puck to the Penguin forward who deposited it for a diving goal to tie the game at one.
Philadelphia’s Braydon Coburn continued the penalty-laden period as he was whistled for holding at 6:42. The Penguins did not waste their first powerplay opportunity of the night. Matt Niskanen scored his first goal of the series in the waning seconds of Coburn’s minor, pushing the Penguins to a 2-1 lead.
Chris Kunitz and Zac Rinaldo exchanged penalties midway through the frame before Brooks Orpik and Matt Cooke started their own parade to the penalty box.
Philadelphia, working with extended 5-on-3 time, deposited two goals behind a helpless Fleury. Kimmo Timonen and Jakub Voracek were credited with the powerplay markers.
The Flyers would score no more. Crosby and Staal each potted even-strength goals near the end of the period to regain the lead for Pittsburgh and the Penguins never looked back.
Bryzgalov had escaped much of the Philadelphia criticism that haunted him during the regular season to this point in the series, but the home crowd was not as affectionate Wednesday night.
The Russian Olympian allowed five goals and finished with a .722 save percentage before being pulled for Sergei Bobrovsky in the second period.
Philadelphia was not interested in assisting their backup as the Flyers took four consecutive penalties to kick off the middle frame. Kris Letang, Staal, and Steve Sullivan all scored goals on ensuing man-advantages to stretch the Penguins lead to 7-3.
Sullivan’s goal at 10:55 was the seventh powerplay goal of the game and the fourth of the game for the Penguins.
Pascal Dupuis went on to add a goal with just over five minutes remaining in the period. The real story on Dupuis goal though, was Fleury.
Perhaps the most important point of the game occurred after the contest was no longer in question. An open Giroux caught the puck in between the circles and fired a wrist shot at the net only to be robbed by the Penguins netminder.
While the save was likely meaningless to the outcome of the game, it undoubtedly supplied Fleury with a heavy dose of confidence.
Jordan Staal topped off his hat trick before the uncharacteristically calm game turned sour.
Zac Rinaldo seemed intent on changing the tide for the Flyers. After taking a cross-checking penalty on Michalek, Rinaldo then added a parting shot to the defenseman’s head moments before the teams were slated for the second intermission.
Rinaldo was assessed four separate penalties including a game misconduct.
Fleury continued his steady play in the final period and Malkin added his second goal of the game before the horn sounded.
The Penguins win is their first in seven playoff games. Pittsburgh trails 3-1 in the best of seven series. The teams will face-off at 7:30 Friday night in Pittsburgh.