Claude Giroux Shines as Flyers Drop Penguins, 6-3

The Flyers came out roaring in front of the usually raucous Wachovia Center crowd on Sunday afternoon, scoring on their first two shots and going on to a scintillating 6-3 victory in game three.  In what was one of the best playoff games I’ve seen, rookie Claude Giroux starred with a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (a goal, an assist, and a fight) and the Flyers and Pens pounded each other for sixty minutes of intense hockey. 

Jeff Carter swooped in and scored on a backhand shot to open the scoring and Mike Richards scored a power play goal to make it 2-0 before the game was barely five minutes old.  The Pens tied it after an obvious goalie interference penalty was overlooked on Rob Scuderi’s goal 13 seconds into the second period. Four minutes later, however, Giroux took an awesome feed from Danny Briere in front and tapped home an open-netter.  Midway through the second, Giroux made star defenseman Sergei Gonchar look ordinary when he stripped him of the puck behind the net, froze him with a sharp turn, then skated behind the net and threaded a pass in front to Simon Gagne for a one-timer into the net.  Perhaps more embarrassing for the Penguins was giving up the first ever goal by a player from Alabama, as rookie Jared Ross scored three minutes into the third.  Sergei Malkin’s second of the game got the few misguided Pengiuns fans in the building briefly excited before Gagne’s second of the game into an empty net sealed the win. 

The lopsided officiating continued in the Penguins favor, with several phantom calls against the Flyers and numerous elbows and other cheap shots by the skunks from the Steel City overlooked.  Jordan Staal connected on more elbows than shots on net and Chris Kunitz left his feet and went at Flyers’ defenseman Kimmo Timonen’s head early in the game.  The Pens have been targeting Timonen all series and the refs let it go as he evidently does not warrant the protection afforded Cindy Crosby and other stars.  I thought the Flyers-Montreal series in last year’s playoffs was ridiculous in terms of the refs favoring the Canadiens, but the first three games of this series have been worse.  Looks like the Flyers will have to beat the refs as well as the Penguins if they want to win this series. 

The Flyers still need to win game four at home. If they do, it’s a whole new series.

No, it's over here, Fleury. Rookie Claude Giroux scores in Game Three.

No, it's over here, Fleury. Rookie Claude Giroux scores in Game Three.

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