Wednesday night was a great night to be a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins and for the very same reasons it was an ugly night to be rooting for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Despite the fact that the Flyers were facing off against arguably their most bitter of rivals on Wednesday night they looked like they had absolutely no fight in them as they were thoroughly dominated by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Less than halfway through the game the Penguins had already chased Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott from the net after 5 unanswered goals and that did very little to stop the bleeding from the shell-shocked Flyers squad.
The 5th goal that chased Elliott from his net was scored by none other than Penguins captain Sidney Crosby off another beautiful mid-air tap in that understandably completely fooled Elliot. It was Crosby's first goal of the night, despite the fact that four of his teammates had already registered a goal, but he wasn't nowhere close to being done.
While the Flyers didn't show much more fire after backup goaltender Petr Mrazek was sent in to replace Elliott, Crosby continued to pour on the offense and made sure that Mrazek ended the night with about as much confidence as Elliott. After his 5th goal of the evening Crosby would score two more back to back goals for a natural and interrupted hat trick.
Crosby's next two goals came in somewhat similar fashion as well. The first saw Crosby hanging around the side of the Flyers net when Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz fired off a one-timer from just a little inside the blue line. Mrazek gave up a rebound on the plat and as a result there was a brief scramble around the net for the puck, and it was Crosby who came up with it. Crosby slapped the puck home from the side of the net before Mrazek had time to react for his second goal of the evening.
The third and final goal of his little scoring spree again came as a result of a shot from the point courtesy of Pittsburgh's defense. This time is was a wrist shot from Brian Dumoulin from all the way at the blue line that floated towards the net, and again it was Crosby who pounced on the opportunity. This time Crosby redirected the puck before it ever got to Mrazek, and again the Flyers backup goaltender was left with no time to react. It wasn't long before the crowd realized who had put it in the net and the hats and towels began to rain down onto the ice.
This now marks the third time that Crosby has recorded a hat trick during the playoffs over the course of his National Hockey League career, and that is no small accomplishment in it's own right. However the bigger picture here for the Penguins has to be how good they feel after completely demolishing the Flyers on Wednesday night, and the hats raining down to the ice while it was 7 -0 appears to have been the cherry on top.
The Flyers are gonna need a huge bounce back game if they don't want this series to be over before it started.
Photo Credit: Eric Canha/CSM/Zuma