The opening game of the NHL playoffs featured one of the most storied interstate rivalries in sports that looked to be a wash for Pittsburgh after the first period, but a resilient Philly team mounted a late game comeback.
The Consol Energy Center was sold out even after adding seats as the Penguins hosted their bitter interstate rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers for Game 1 of their seven game series.
From the outset, the Flyers seemed lethargic and scatterbrained, letting Pittsburgh into their offensive zone early and often, resulting in a quick five to one shot ratio. The first strike came a little over three and a half minutes in, when Sidney Crosby shoveled a loose puck into the upper right corner of the net. Almost exactly four minutes later, Tyler Kennedy scored on a one timer from Jordan Staal. At 19:23, Pascal Dupuis tapped in a loose puck that bounced off goalie Ilya Bryzgalov's back.
After the first intermission, it was clear that Philly came out of the locker room determined to overcome a three goal deficit, while Pittsburgh looked content on just sitting on their lead. Philly's Danny Briere scored the only goal of the second period on a breakaway pass from Brayden Schenn that should have been called offsides.
The second period also featured the first two of four total penalties in the game, one to Claude Giroux for boarding Brooks Orpik, smashing his face into the glass, and Zac Rinaldo for cross checking, and Philly effectively killed both.
As the third period opened, the Penguins seemed to swap their first period gusto with Philly's first period laziness. Jaromir Jagr posted the game's third penalty early in the period, and the action seemed to go back and forth, favoring the Flyers. At 9:17 Danny Briere notched his second goal of the game off a oddly angled shot from the left wing. A little over a minute later, Brooks Orpik got called for interference and the Flyers took advantage, scoring a power play goal off the stick of Brayden Schenn.
Overtime arrived, but didn't stay long. At 2:23, Jakub Voracek collected a rebound off goalie Marc Andre Fleury's left leg pad and tickled the back of the net for the win.
Game 2 of the series is on Friday, on the NBC Sports Network and TSN.