Penguins Show Some Life with Big Victory After Flyers’ Total Collapse

The NHL Guide and Record Book welcomed Ilya Bryzgalov, Marc-Andre Fleury, Brent Johnson and Sergei Bobrovsky into its pages Wednesday night, as the NHL goalies who have now allowed the most goals through the first four games of a playoff series (45) since records have been kept.

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The 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers-Chicago Blackhawks’ Campbell Conference record of 44 seemed right up there with other notable sports records — especially in this NHL age of austerity on the score sheets.

Move over Murray Bannerman, Warren Skorodenski, Grant Fuhr and Andy Moog. They can no longer lay claim as the four biggest sieves through the first four in postseason history. Breezer, The Flower, Johnny and The Bob are now in the books.

In a game that could have been titled “How Not to Close Out a Playoff Series”, the Flyers checked their brains somewhere in that small space between Pat’s and Geno’s Steaks, losing a 10-3 — TEN to three — in Game 4 of the Eastern quarterfinals at Wells Fargo Center.

A three games to one lead. Another game, assured, in their own building. A 293-4 historical record on their side among pro teams who have had a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series. All of these facts are no doubt insufficient succor for Flyer fans after this outright debacle.

If pucks weren’t going through Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky like green corn goes through the new maid, their teammates were probably falling time and again for the league’s seeming “You guys so much as look at the other guys in a cross way, you’re going to the box” pre-game dictum after Sunday’s Hulkamania at the Wells.

How many dumb penalties did the Flyers take in Game 4 — a team that was supposed to have been in the profitable “I don’t you are, but what am I?” stage of this series against a frustrated Pens squad? Enough for a Johnny Carson punch line, as if 64 penalty minutes weren’t enough of a joke.

Philly took four straight minor penalties in the first 11 minutes of the second period, all of them sloppy, lazy infractions that seemed to give the jittery Penguins a “Hey, these guys giving us a chance here, boys” mentality. Pittsburgh scored on the first three, on goals by Kris Letang (wicked wrister, top cookies behind the laterally laggardly Bryzgalov), Jordan Staal (wicked one-timer from between the circles on Bobrovsky in relief) and Steve Sullivan (big slapper from just inside the blue line).

It was 7-3 by then, the exact moment when sports writers covering this series began scouring the web for cheap flights back to Pittsburgh.

Those 11 minutes were the game.

“It was a crazy game in a lot of ways. But we got a lot of key saves at big times, and we were able to turn it the other way,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma told reporters.

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