PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 11: Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers scores past Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on April 11, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
The word is stuck within the mind upon a cerebral Post-It.
"Flat" is jotted down too, but "ugly" is in bold, highlighted and reigns supreme.
The Penguins came out on fire Wednesday night in the first game of their opening round playoff match-up against the Philadelphia Flyers. Sidney Crosby, Tyler Kennedy scored goals in rapid fire succession and Pascal Dupuis added a cherry on top near the end of the opening frame, lending the hosts a dominant 3-0 lead by the end of the first period.
Alas, it was only a loan. Things slowly, gradually fell apart. A sneaky Danny Briere goal here, another there, a gradually eroding defense all over the place.
Suddenly, it's the third period and it's tied. Again. And it's overtime, and a game that had once seemed in the bag against the Flyers was suddenly very much out of it and up for grabs. Again. As a friend once put it, tongue firmly planted in cheek, "Them's the breaks."
And when you stop making your own breaks, you tend to get broken. The Penguins certainly did, and after a 4-3 overtime loss, they're now down 1-0 in this best of seven series.
From beginning to the shortly-arriving end of overtime, the Penguins were undeniably sloppy. Disarray ruled the ice for 2:23 until Jakub Voracek deposited the puck past a sprawling Marc-Andre Fleury and into a wide open net.
How close this all could've come to not happening.
Danny Briere got the Flyers on the board in the second period thanks to some fortuitously poor officiating and an undeniably ice-cold finish. A stride offside, he nevertheless collected the puck sans whistle and beat Fleury, who had been rock-solid up until that point (and for the most part after) to narrow the score to 3-1.
And to be sure, this loss can not be blamed on a single blown call.
Briere struck again in the third, scoring on a seeing eye shot that was seemingly beamed from Point A up to the USS Enterprise and back down into the net, making it 3-2 and giving anyone in black and gold who cared at all an uneasy feeling in the pit of their stomach.
A monstrous hit from Brooks Orpik seemed to give the Penguins a needed shot of adrenaline, but he was whistled for interference and, well, that was that for the lead. Brayden Schenn's goal was his third point of the night, and the Flyers undeniably were in control from there.
Game, set and... well, not match. Not yet, at least. Game three is on Friday, with the opening face off scheduled for just after 7:30.