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Old 05-10-2008, 05:53 AM   #5611
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http://postgazette.com/pg/08131/880813-61.stm

Flyers: Game 1 loss puts them in familiar spot

Saturday, May 10, 2008
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A shot by the Flyers' R.J. Umberger is stopped by the Penguins' Marc-Andre Fleury in the first period last night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final series at Mellon Arena.The Philadelphia Flyers know what it feels like to be down, 1-0, in a series. All too well.

They lost, 5-4, at Washington in their first-round opener, but came back to win in seven games.

In the second round, Philadelphia lost at Montreal, 4-3, in overtime. The Flyers then won four in a row to eliminate the Canadiens and advance to face the Penguins.

That means they're on a trail they hope they recognize in the Eastern Conference final.

The Flyers kept the pattern going last night, falling, 4-2, to the Penguins in Game 1 at Mellon Arena.

"The upside is, we've always come back in the second game and had a really solid game, so [tomorrow], hopefully, we do the same thing," said Mike Richards, who had both the Flyers' goals and gave them a 2-1 lead in the first period.

The Flyers will have to address a few things if they hope to scrape back into this series as they did in the earlier two.

Namely, they will have to hold down the Penguins' big guns -- Evgeni Malkin had two goals, Sidney Crosby and Petr Sykora one each -- and certainly they will have to limit turnovers when those offensive threats are on the ice.

Malkin took advantage of turnovers for both his goals.

There was the momentum-shifting wrist shot from the left dot with 6.5 seconds left in the first period after he got the puck barely onside at the point.

And there was one of the more bizarre breakaways that produced the game's final goal at 4:50 of the second period, one that came with Philadelphia on a power play.

After getting knocked into the boards behind the Philadelphia net, Malkin got up and headed back up the ice, chasing the Flyers' odd-man break. But in the other end, Penguins winger Marian Hossa bumped Daniel Briere off the puck in the left circle, where defenseman Sergei Gonchar grabbed it and sent it down the ice.

Malkin, with no one around for what seemed like miles, got the puck near the blue line, skated down the slot and surprised goaltender Martin Biron with a slap shot from less than 10 feet.

"I knew he was tired," said Biron, who stopped 17 Penguins shots.

"He got up the ice, he came back, he got up again.

"When he lifted his stick up, at one point I thought he was just trying to pull a fake, so I had to stay honest on the play. He let it go and he had a good shot."

The Penguins then shut things down.

The Flyers were playing without top two-way defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who has a blood clot, and used reconfigured defensive pairings, but coach John Stevens refused to point to that as the reason his team had some trouble effectively moving the puck up to their forwards.

"No, let's stop there right now," Stevens said.

"Kimmo's not our lineup. We have six guys that are capable of moving the puck. I thought we had the start we wanted. We had the shots on net. We had the lead. We just didn't manage a puck as a group of five on the ice. Our support got too far away."

On the power play, where Timonen normally runs things from the point, Randy Jones filled in on the top unit, but Philadelphia was 0 for 3 and gave up Malkin's short-handed goal.

"Playing over 90 games with him, having chemistry with a player and then all of a sudden having another player, it hurts you," Richards said.

"It's something we'll have to deal with."

It's possible the teams with a healthy rivalry will have to deal with the added dimension of rough stuff, too.

The game was physical but relatively calm in terms of penalties until the final two minutes, when a large scrum produced 14 minute of penalty time.

"As the series goes, it's going to get tougher," said R.J. Umberger, a Plum native who picked up assists on both of Richards' goals.

"There's so much hatred. You saw it there toward the end. It could get worse. But we need to not think about that. We need to play better hockey."
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Old 05-10-2008, 11:09 AM   #5612
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Great game last night I think we will win 6-1 Sunday
GO GUINS!
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Old 05-10-2008, 11:28 AM   #5613
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Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
I think it is a little early to talk sweep, but it's a nice thought!

http://postgazette.com/pg/08131/880812-61.stm

Cook: If Penguins keep this up, Flyers will be cast aside quickly
It isn't too early to talk sweep


Saturday, May 10, 2008
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Is it too late to pick the Penguins in three games?

OK, enough with the wise-guy stuff, but, really, is there any reason to think the series with the Philadelphia Flyers will go more than four?

I don't see one.

Reality hit the Flyers hard at Mellon Arena last night when the Penguins swarmed them with their world-class talent and won Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, 4-2. It will rock 'em even harder this morning when they wake up and realize it won't be any easier in the three games ahead without their best player, defenseman Kimmo Timonen.

Talk about your one-two punches.

It's hard to imagine the Flyers getting back up.

Game 1 was the one the Flyers needed to steal. The Penguins came out just a bit flat, at least defensively.

That was to be expected after the news the night before of Timonen's blood clot in his left ankle, an injury that should sideline him for the rest of the playoffs.

It's only human to relax after the opponent takes that kind of hit.

This also figured to be the one night the Flyers would rally around Timonen's loss and have an even bigger emotional edge. Certainly, that's what Timonen was hoping when he met his teammates late yesterday afternoon and told them, "Don't feel sorry for me. You guys have a game tonight."

That turned out to be the problem.

The Flyers had to play that game against a much superior Penguins team.

Sure, they had brief hope after turning the Penguins' early defensive lapses into a 2-1 lead. Center Mike Richards beat goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury with a wraparound shot that Fleury knocked into his net, a surprising goal considering Fleury's lights-out play in this postseason. Then, just 4:20 later, Richards scored again after teammate Joffrey Lupul outworked Penguins defensemen Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi in front of Fleury.

Penguins coach Michel Therrien wasn't happy but didn't blame his players for taking anything for granted because of Timonen's injury.

"We hadn't played in almost a week," Therrien said.

"The competitive level wasn't quite there in front of the net. We weren't aware of who was there. After we talked to the players, I thought we were much better."

This much is certain:

That 2-1 deficit turned out to be a mere annoyance for the Penguins.

Their stars made sure of it.

"The guys did a nice job coming back," Fleury said. "Everybody is always confident we can come back in any game."

With their talent, why not?

"When we get our chances, we score goals," said winger Petr Sykora, who got the Penguins' first one after a nice set-up pass from linemate Ryan Malone.

It couldn't have seemed fair to the Flyers to see Richards and Lupul work so hard for their second goal, then watch Sidney Crosby get an easy one 1:21 later when he swooped to the net and took a pretty pass from Marian Hossa before depositing the puck behind goaltender Martin Biron.

The next goal -- the tie-breaking goal -- hurt even more.

Evgeni Malkin -- the best player in the world in these playoffs -- beat Biron with a shot with just 6.5 seconds left in the first period.

"Huge goal, huge goal," Sykora said.

If that didn't deflate the Flyers, Malkin's second goal did after an amazing sequence early in the second period. Malkin was stopped by Biron on great shorthanded chance, an instant before he took a brutal hit from Richards. Malkin picked himself up slowly and did a little cherry-picking at the Flyers' blue line as play continued in the Penguins' end.

Malkin then took a pass from Sergei Gonchar and busted in on Biron for what amounted to a penalty shot. Malkin beat Biron with a fabulous slap shot.

"Phenomenal," Therrien said. "He's just phenomenal."

Where was that slapper on Malkin's penalty shot in Game 4 against the New York Rangers?

Not to be critical.

The truth?

There was nothing to criticize about the Penguins on this night, that slow defensive start aside.

They took what figures to be the Flyers' best shot and barely flinched.

I'll be surprised if the next three games aren't even easier.
I agree. Still too early to talk sweep. The Penguins I think can still pull it off, but remember, the Flyers are going to be looking to take Game 2. I feel if we take game 2 and then Split at worst in Philly, we can still win it in 5. But, if Philly continues to play the same ol game like they did last night, we will sweep them.

But for now, let's worry about game 2 and going up 2-0.
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Old 05-10-2008, 03:24 PM   #5614
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I think this article is well written and on-point regarding the Pens' stellar defense who are truly the "unsung heroes" in the successes our Pens have had not only during the regular season, but especially in the playoffs!

http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?articleid...e&service=page

Defensive prowess an overlooked facet of Pittsburgh Penguins' game

Canadian Press May 10, 2008, 3:29 PM EDT

PITTSBURGH - Given the offensive pizzazz on the Pittsburgh Penguins, it's hardly surprising that the most overlooked facet of their game has been their defensive prowess in these NHL playoffs.

Yes, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the offensive juggernaut have provided some flashy and timely goals, but behind the sizzle lies the truth behind a 9-1 record this spring. The Penguins are ranked first in goals against, allowing only 1.90 goals per game in the playoffs.

"That's a part of the game we've been working on," star defenceman Sergei Gonchar said Saturday after practice. "A lot of people probably aren't paying attention to it because it's not something people think about when they think about the Pittsburgh Penguins. They think about nice goals and nice plays.

"But everybody has really bought into the defensive part of the game and that's why we're having some success."

It showed again Friday night in the opener of the Eastern Conference final, the Penguins completely shutting down the Philadelphia Flyers once they took a 4-2 lead in the second period.

"When we took that two-goal lead, we were tough to play against," said head coach Michel Therrien. "It's just something that we try to teach a lot with that young group through the course of the season to be able to get some success in the playoffs."

Therrien and his coaching staff deserve much credit. It's not easy convincing a young roster full of offensive studs to try just as hard on the other side of the puck. That part isn't nearly as much fun. But it starts with the guy wearing the captain's 'C'. Crosby bought in a long time ago so his teammates had no choice but to follow their young leader.

"Obviously, we realize if we don't play well defensively, we're not going to win a lot of games," said Crosby, who was plus-18 in the regular season and is plus-3 so far this spring. "We do have a lot of offensive players. But we all realize if we take care of things on our own end, it gives us a better opportunity to have the puck and not be chasing as much all game.

"So I think up front we realize we have to make sure we're coming back hard. Our defence has done a great job. They manage the puck well. We've got some big guys there that can be physical and they need to be. And obviously when Marc-Andre (Fleury) is playing well, it's hard to score goals against us."

Therrien is constantly bombarded with questions about his offensive stars. Can you believe how good Sid The Kid is, can you believe what Malkin did in tonight's game, etc... But his eyes lit up Saturday when asked about his team's defensive play. He obviously is proud how far his team has come in that department.

"You know what, people probably won't pay attention to our defensive game because of the weapons that we have offensively," said Therrien, whose team will look to take a 2-0 lead with a win Sunday in Game 2 (7:30 p.m. ET). "And I believe that's normal. We stress a lot with the players about playing a good team game, good defensive game, a good checking game. They know they want to be successful. And there's no team at this time of the year that could be successful without playing a good checking game.

"This is a young group who wants to be better. This is why it is so fun for a coaching staff to work with those young guys. Because they want to get better, and they pay attention to detail. ... Even if they're gifted, a lot of players are gifted defensively, they're not going to cheat. They're going to play the book, they're going to do the percentage play, and that's the only reason why right now we have success."

Clearly that message has sunk in through the Penguins dressing room.

"Defence wins championships, that's the way it is," said Penguins checker Jarkko Ruutu. "If you want to start opening up and try to get into high-scoring games, then you're probably not going to win. When you play smart defensively you create chances going the other way. I think it's a good balance, we've been smart about it so far.

"I think guys are buying into the defence much better than ever," he added. "You see guys like Malkin coming back hard. Everybody is buying in, it's contagious. Especially when your top guys are doing it. When they're not cutting corners, everybody follows suit."

Centre Jordan Staal, only 19, figures it's pretty simple really.

"Our game plan is really about limiting the other team's chances and we know that sooner or later, with the talent we have on this team, we're going to score goals as well," Staal said. "When we keep the puck out of our net, we're fine."
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Old 05-10-2008, 03:29 PM   #5615
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What really has me freaked out... beyond the fact I am routing for the Pens right now...

is the fact that I used to route for the flyers at times...

I'll tell you this much however... I route for ANY team against Detroit... except the Habs... for them, I hope they both lose... some how.
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:34 AM   #5616
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It really boggles my mind that the Pens are still being called a finesse team with a supposed "whiner diver" in Crosby, while Philly is being called "the physical bullies". Yeah. Philly is goon-ish, but weren't the Rangers and Senators supposed to push the "finesse" Pens around?

It's all good though. Makes the victories all the more sweeter.
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:32 AM   #5617
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Its going to be great seeing us win the cup this year
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:35 AM   #5618
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Quote:
ive also remembered how much i disliked eric lindross and martin brodeur (although i respected the goalie).
my bad, i think i got the devils goalie mixed up with hextall(?). my hockey memory goes back to the days of fuhr, hasek, and roy, so its a little fuzzy. brodeur was the only devil i liked except for when he was stonewalling lemieux.

other than the penguins ive probably seen the most of the redwings (of course theyve always been good and get alot of tv exposure, plus my old step dad was a huge fan from detroit).

in a way, i would prefer the pens (if/when they advance) to play the sharts errrr.... stars, because ive seen the redwings win so much. its a little scary. on the other hand, to be the best you gotta beat the best (of the west). is that still the wings? i have always liked modano though, and to have a recognizable player in the cup would be cool.

since i havent followed the competition, i have just kinda noticed they seem pretty dominant in the playoffs as have the pens (so far... i dont wanna jinx them).

so can somebody who has followed all teams in hockey give me an assesment of who seems the most dominant?
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Old 05-11-2008, 06:40 PM   #5619
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Originally Posted by tony hipchest View Post
my bad, i think i got the devils goalie mixed up with hextall(?). my hockey memory goes back to the days of fuhr, hasek, and roy, so its a little fuzzy. brodeur was the only devil i liked except for when he was stonewalling lemieux.

other than the penguins ive probably seen the most of the redwings (of course theyve always been good and get alot of tv exposure, plus my old step dad was a huge fan from detroit).

in a way, i would prefer the pens (if/when they advance) to play the sharts errrr.... stars, because ive seen the redwings win so much. its a little scary. on the other hand, to be the best you gotta beat the best (of the west). is that still the wings? i have always liked modano though, and to have a recognizable player in the cup would be cool.

since i havent followed the competition, i have just kinda noticed they seem pretty dominant in the playoffs as have the pens (so far... i dont wanna jinx them).

so can somebody who has followed all teams in hockey give me an assesment of who seems the most dominant?
I want the Redwings advance... that way, I have No Qualms about rooting for the Pens.
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Old 05-11-2008, 06:43 PM   #5620
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Ruh Roh...

That is shot to the head..and blood o the ice.
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