January 19, 2013
The crowd was fired up, "Crosby sucks!" chants were rampant throughout the arena prior to puck drop. The players were introduced for the first time in months, the Lauren Hart finally had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem again.
Fans at the game were lucky enough to witness it all.
However, if you were watching on TV at home, then tough luck.
NBC chose to nationally televise the Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup ceremony, which would see the team's first championship banner go up into the rafters. That was understandable.
What wasn't was NBC opting to show the first few minutes of the Kings' game against the Chicago Blackhawks, rather than allowing Flyers fans on the east coast to see their own team's pre-game ceremony.
NBC finally switched over to the game at 3:37, but it was already time for puck drop by then.
But hey, who can complain? Fans can finally watch Flyers hockey again.
In the first period the game felt like it was playing out in the same fashion as games one through three in last year's Eastern Conference Quarter Finals.
The Flyers had a slow first period, allowing two goals to the Penguins.
The first from Tyler Kennedy (1, 4:40), who deflected in a slap shot from the point by Paul Martin. Then the second from James Neal (1, 7:20), who scored on a wrist shot after Evgeni Malkin won a face-off to the right of Ilya Bryzgalov.
The Flyers struggled to to spark a lot of offense in the first period, only managing to generate six shots on goal, five of which came on the power play.
The second and third periods were a lot stronger for the Flyers.
The Flyers put more shots on goal with 21 over the last two periods (11 in the second and 10 in the third).
Claude Giroux, in his first game as captain, scored (1, 0:23) off a one-timer from Scott Hartnell early in the second to cut the deficit to one.
The Flyers had multiple other scoring chances in the rest of the second period and throughout much of the third, but could not put the puck by Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 26 saves in 27 shots.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 24 saves on 26 shots faced.
The Penguins scored on an empty-netter with 12 seconds left. The goal was scored by Chris Kunitz (1, 19:48).
The Flyers will regroup and head to Buffalo for a Sunday afternoon game against the Sabres.
(Image from CSNPhilly.com and the Associated Press)