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10 Years of Pens Playoffs: the series we said we’d never discuss again in ‘12

A series reflecting back on the past ten years of the Penguins postseason run, one year at a time

Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Four Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Oh boy. So here we are. I promised I would never do this. But I must. Let’s all huddle around for group therapy and get through this together. Grab a drink (or two or three) and we’ll be okay.

After the rough 2010-11 season, the 2011-12 Season for the Penguins was an interesting one, to say the least. The Penguins team featured a healthy Evgeni Malkin, who recovered from his knee surgery to come back and not miss a beat -- scoring 50 goals and logging 109 points en route to winning the Hart Trophy.

Montreal Canadiens v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Sidney Crosby would make a triumphant comeback against the Islanders.

The downside is that Crosby would miss more time after this, before making another comeback game against the Rangers shortly before the playoffs would start.

The Penguins were humming along like a machine, and if memory serves me correctly, the best Penguins puck possession metric team this era has produced. There was only one problem. That problem was the Philadelphia Flyers. Even before the playoffs started, it became evident that the matchup was a problem.

It is still remarkable to me to this day that Peter Laviolette grabbed a players stick and broke it in half over the boards. Tony Granato and Laviolette were ready to fight on the bench, for Christ’s sake. What a mess. AND THIS WAS A REGULAR SEASON GAME.

Sigh, onto the Playoffs

A week or so after that debacle, we’re ready for the playoffs to start. Word gets out that Ilya Bryzgalov is afraid of bears, so we have fans dressing up as bears for a fucking playoff game.



Early into Game 1, the Penguins had a 3-0 lead, and everything was good. Laughs and jokes and happiness! That would certainly last, right?

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game One Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

HE WAS OFFSIDES. That started the comeback. The Flyers would tie the game at 3-3 to send it to overtime. And the Penguins forgot how to defense (this would be a common theme) and Jake Voracek won the game for the Flyers.


After losing Game 1, especially in the fashion that they did, blowing a lead, it felt like they just needed to do what they did in the first half of that game in order to be successful. They did not do that. INSTEAD, WHAT THEY DID WAS ALLOW EIGHT GOALS IN A GOD DAMN PLAYOFF GAME. At one point, the score was 5-5! It ended 8-5! Jaromir Jagr completely broke Ben Lovejoy at some point!

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t even get pulled! Amazing!

How do you follow up an eight-goal loss in the playoffs?

That’s a very good question. My answer: ALLOW EIGHT MORE GOALS IN THE NEXT GOD DAMN GAME. I mean, you’ve got to be kidding me at this point,right? Things are starting to feel like a fiction story when you hear that a team lost 8-5 and 8-4 in back-to-back playoff games.

And as if losing and giving up 8 more goals wasn’t embarrassing enough, the Penguins totally lost their minds and played like children.

Sidney Crosby pushed Jake Voracek’s glove away from him.

Arron Asham tried to kill Brayden Schenn after Schenn went head-hunting on Paul Martin.

For his combination of cross-check to the throat and head punch, he was suspended for four games.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Three Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Craig Adams went after Scott Hartnell like a crazy person. He would be suspended for 1 game, and Dan Bylsma would be fined $10,000 for Adams’ actions.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Three

James Neal would be suspended for 1 game for cheapshots on both Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier in the same game!


Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Three Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The most underrated feature and aspect of this series is that the Flyers and Ilya Bryzgalov were atrocious at keeping the puck out of their own net, allowing 9 goals in these two games. The Penguins, ahead of the curve, just decide to have a ‘hold my beer’ moment, and allowing SIXTEEN goals in these two games. After this embarrassment in Game 3, Dan Bylsma probably should have just been fired on the spot. Make it quick and easy. Jesus.

How do you top allowing eight goals in back-to-back playoff games?

No, the Penguins did not allow eight goals in Game 4. They did, however, remember how to play hockey. In what has to be one of the funniest games I remember watching in my life, they scored 10 goals in Game 4.

Normal Hockey

Interesting enough, the two teams combined to play a fairly normal hockey game in Game 5. Only 5 goals scored combined, and a 3-2 win for the Penguins as they held the door to keep hope alive.

A Passed Baton

After winning Game 4 and Game 5, there was hope. That was preemptive, however. Game 6 would be all Flyers, especially from the start, and it was never close.

5-1 Flyers. Yikes.

Goodnight to the worst series we will probably ever see as Penguins fans.

45 goals scored in the first four games. A total of 56 goals scored in six games. That’s just bananas. The one bright spot from the Penguins perspective in all of this is that the Flyers have not won a playoff series since this one.

As it all ended, we collectively thought, “Well, we’re probably good for a while on failing to show up for a playoff series on a big stage.” Not so fast......