On Tuesday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins rebounded from an embarrassing loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday by beating them 3-1. The game was not dominated by the Penguins, however. The Flyers made the Penguins play their game for a large portion of the game. The Penguins won because their grinders that did not get the job done in game three got it done in game four. Secondly, Marc-Andre Fleury played out of his mind.
Marc-Andre Fleury was by far the player of the game. He faced a much tougher test througout the game than his counterpart Martin Biron did. Fleury faced 46 shots in the game while Biron only faced 25. The Flyers weren't just putting the puck on net from the blue line either. They had several scoring chances that Fleury just shut down. Maybe the most impressive save was a shot from the blue line from Kimmo Timonen that Fleury did not see. It bounced off the boards in front of the net. Fleury heard the puck hit and contorted himself backwards to shut down Simon Gagne from point-blank range.
This game was important for Fleury after a poor performance in game three. Game three saw Fleury give up two goals on the first two shots of the game. In game four he didn't give up the first and only goal the Flyers scored until shot number 42. In playoff hockey, most often your goaltender has to be your best player. Fleury has been that in the three games he has won in this series. It would be a struggle to find a goaltender in the east that could hang with him.
The grinders of the Penguins also rebounded nicely in this game. The third and fourth lines of the Flyers dominated the Penguins in game three. The tide reversed back in the Penguins direction. Tyler Kennedy scored the goal which turned out to be the game winner. Max Talbot iced the game with an empty net goal. Matt Cooke had two assists and Hal Gill as well as Craig Adams chipped in with a helper a piece. The only production the Flyers got from their grinders was a goal from Daniel Carcillo when Fleury was knocked into his own net by Joffrey Lupul which left him on his knees, unable to make the save.
Gill, Cooke, Rob Scuderi, and Jordan Staal were all a plus two in this game. Scuderi and Staal also logged over 20 minutes of ice time each which were most on the team behind Sergei Gonchar. Those guys proved that they didn't need someone like Eric Godard to be dressed in order to stand up to the Flyers. They played physical hockey and for the most part prevented the Flyers from performing their behind the play shenanigans.
These are the games that champions need to win. The games were they don't play their best hockey but they still get the job done. This win puts the Penguins in a great position to end the series on Thursday in Pittsburgh.