It was the spring of 2012. The Penguins team that season was very good, registering 108 points in the regular season. They would end up matched up against the Philadelphia Flyers in the postseason for the first third time in fifth years, and this would be the most memorable version.
Less than a week before the playoffs began, tempers already were flaring with a late-game 4th line hit from Joe Vitale on Danny Briere that led to Peter Laviolette and Tony Granato having a battle of words while standing on top of the boards.
In the first game of the series, the Penguins let a 3-0 lead get away from them after an infamously bad missed offsides call.
They fell 4-3 to the Flyers in overtime and that was the start of the downward spiral.
Flash a few nights later to Game 2.
The Penguins storm out of the game, like they had a tendency to do, with Sidney Crosby putting them on the board just 15 seconds into the game, A 3-1 lead at the end of the first period became a tied game at 3-3 before going back to a 4-3 lead midway through the second period.
A shorthanded goal for Claude Giroux would tie the game at 3-3 and after a goal from Chris Kunitz to get the lead back, Sean Couturier’s first of three goals in the game would tie things back up at 4-4.
Going into the third, the Penguins get right back on the board and are feeling good — and then 17 seconds later, they allowed their fifth goal of the game, Couturier’s second, tying the game at 5-5.
Things spiraled further out of control after that, with Jaromir Jagr getting on the board, Couturier getting the hat trick, and Claude Giroux putting the nail in the coffin with an empty net goal to take a 2-0 series lead heading back to Philadelphia.
Eight goals against in a playoff game! But stay tuned for a couple days, because the Penguins had the nobility to do it again just 2 nights later, and that version would make this one look like child’s play.