The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers will meet for the sixth time in playoff history with the Flyers defeating the Penguins in 1989, 1997 and 2000, and the Penguins returning the favor in 2008 and 2009. With five series already in the books, there are plenty of memories that give this rivalry true character and setup a great series for 2012. Before breaking down this playoff series, let's take a look at the playoff history between these two bitter rivals:
The Penguins were fresh off a 4-0 sweep of the New York Rangers in the Patrick Division Semifinals. It was their first playoff appearance since 1982 and their first series win since 1979.
In game 1, the Penguins erased a 3-1 deficit to come back and defeat the Flyers 4-3 on a game-winning goal by Rob Brown.
In game 2, the Penguins took a 1-0 lead but the Flyers, led by a Tim Kerr hat trick, roared back to defeat the Penguins 4-2.
Playing at the Spectrum for games 3 and 4, Phil Bourque scored in overtime to give the Penguins a 2-1 series lead but the Flyers tied the series thanks to a two goal effort by Tim Kerr in game 4.
Game 5 was unquestionably the most memorable. Mario Lemieux, coming back from a neck injury he sustained in game 4, scored a hat trick en route to a 6-1 Penguins lead after the first period. In the second period, Rob Brown scored and Flyers' goaltender, Ron Hextall, chased after him. Flyers' coach Paul Holmgren pulled his net minder and Philadelphia suddenly drew within two goals. However, Mario Lemieux capped off one of the most amazing performances in playoff history, totaling five goals and eight points in the game.
The Flyers tied the series in Philadelphia with a 6-2 win in game 6.
Ken Wregget, filling in for an injured Ron Hextall, stopped 39 of 40 shots to advance the Flyers into the next round after defeating the Penguins 4-1 in game 7.
Led by the "Legion of Doom" line (Eric Lindros, John Leclair and Mikael Renberg) the Flyers dominated the series, 4-1. John Leclair had game-winning goals in games 1, 3 and 5.
The lone Penguins' win came from two short-handed goals from Eddie Olczyk and Petr Nedved. The most memorable moment for Pittsburgh fans, however, came late in the game from number 66. Mario Lemieux, playing in his last game before his first retirement, took a pass off the boards, skated in on goaltender Garth Snow, and scored five-hole. The arena exploded in cheers from the hometown fans, as Mario raised his arms in the air.
The Penguins got out to a 2-1 lead in game 5, but the Flyers came back and coasted to a 6-3 victory.
The Flyers would go on to lose to the Detroit Red Wings in four games in the Stanley Cup Finals.
After a 4-1 series win over the Washington Capitals in the first round, the Penguins got out to a 2-0 series lead against Philadelphia.
Ron Tugnutt surrendered just one goal in the first two games of the series which were in Philadelphia.
A four against four brawl late in game 2 seemed to set the tone for the rest of the series.
The Flyers won game 3 on an overtime goal from Andy Delmore.
Keith Primeau tied the series with a heartbreaking goal in the fifth overtime.
Daymond Langkow scored 23 seconds into game 5 to give the Flyers the lead. Andy Delmore recorded a hat trick and Mark Recchi registered five points to defeat the Penguins 6-3. Late in the game, Penguins' defenseman Bob Boughner leveled Keith Primeau who needed to be carted off the ice.
Mark Recchi and John Leclair scored for the Flyers in game 6, to preserve another series victory for Philadelphia.
The Flyers accused the Penguins for being scared to face them in the first round of the playoffs, after a lackluster performance late in the regular season.
After the Flyers got out to a 2-1 lead in game 1 at Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh stormed back with a goal from Sidney Crosby and two goals from Evgeni Malkin. Malkin was crushed by Mike Richards and had a tough time getting back to his own end to play defense. Just as he got over the attacking blue line, the Penguins got control of the puck and outlet a pass to the young Russian who blew a slapshot past Marty Biron.
With the score tied at 2 in game 2, legendary forward Gary Roberts fed a nifty backhand pass to Max Talbot who beat Biron in front. Talbot's goal at 8:51 into the third period would stand up as the game winner.
Marian Hossa scored two goals in game 3, including the game winning goal, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 17 of 18 shots to give the Penguins a 3-0 series advantage.
The Flyers, led by two goals from Joffrey Lupul, beat the Penguins 4-2 in game 4.
Pittsburgh dominated the Flyers in game 6, winning 6-0 and clinching their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1992. Ryan Malone scored twice, Hossa, Crosby, Dupuis and Malkin added a goal each.
The Penguins, of course, would go on to lose to the Detroit Red Wings in six games.
The Penguins and Flyers met again, this time in the first round of the playoffs.
Pittsburgh controlled game 1, defeating the Flyers 4-1. Sidney Crosby scored a power play goal 4:41 into the game, and the Penguins tallied three more goals before Simon Gagne ended Fleury's quest for a shutout.
Game 2 was a much tighter game. Scott Hartnell deflected a slapshot from Matt Carle to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead. The Penguins tied the game on a goal from Bill Guerin 14 minutes into the second period. After a goal by Darroll Powe early in the third period gave the Flyers the lead, Jeff Carter had a chance to put the game out of reach. With a wide open cage, Carter attempted to slam the puck in, however, Marc-Andre Fleury extended his right skate out to make a brilliant toe save. The Penguins tied the score on a goal off the leg of Evgeni Malkin, then won the game in overtime with Bill Guerin's second goal of the game.
The Flyers took game 3 at the Wachovia Center, with a 6-3 win. The game ended with 58 penalty minutes between the two teams.
Marc-Andre Fleury simply stole game 4 for the Pittsburgh Penguins. After allowing 5 goals on 29 shots in game 3, Fleury 45 of 46 shots in game 4 to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 series edge.
The Flyers took game 5 backed by a great performance by Biron. Arron Asham, Claude Giroux and Mike Knuble each tallied a goal to send the series back to Philadelphia for game 6.
After the Flyers stormed out to a 3-0 lead in game 6, Max Talbot challenged Daniel Carcillo to a fight. Carcillo obliged and seemed to pummel Talbot, further fueling the Philadelphia crowd. As Max Talbot went to the penalty box, he shushed the crowd. Just seconds later, Ruslan Fedotenko jammed in a loose puck to cut the Flyers lead to 3-1. Mark Eaton and Sidney Crosby each batted a puck out of the air to tie the game at three. Sergei Gonchar's slapshot from the point gave Pittsburgh a 4-3 lead 2:19 into the third period, and Sidney Crosby added an empty net goal to seal the deal.
The Penguins would go on to win their third Stanley Cup.