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Game 2 (Flyers) – Postgame

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Some observations following the Penguins’ 3-2 overtime victory in Game 2 to take a 2-0 series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers in an Eastern Conference quarterfinal:

TRIB’S THREE STARS:

1 – G Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins: A 38-save performance with at least a half-dozen jaw-droppers.

2 – RW Bill Guerin, Penguins: Two goals, including an OT winner, were a nice way to end three-year playoff scoring drought.

3 – C Evgeni Malkin, Penguins: Don’t look now, but he already has five points in this series after recording three in Game 2.

DAN THE MAN: Interim coach Dan Bylsma appears to have some natural playoff-instincts. With the Penguins down 1-0 in the first period on Friday, he did not hesitate to pair Cs Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin – the lone two 100-point scoring teammates during the regular season – on the same line.

Of course, former coach Michel Therrien used to pull that trick, but mostly in the third period. Bylsma’s willingness to unite the “MegaPowers” at any point during a game shows a sense of timing that takes many coaches years to develop at the NHL level.

KENNEDY… KENNEDY: RW Tyler Kennedy registered six shots, second only to Guerin’s eight. Kennedy scored his first playoff goal in Game 1 on Wednesday. If he keeps directing pucks at the cage as he has through two games – he’s taken 11 shots – Kennedy will have his second playoff goal before another playoff game is played in Pittsburgh.

HIT PARADE: The Penguins were credited with 50 hits in Game 2. The Flyers were credited with only 29. Talk amongst yourselves, but consider that the Penguins were only credited with one giveaway in Game 1.

I’ve been accused of relying too much on stats. If this keeps up, I won’t.

QUOTE AND A QUESTION: Flyers LW Scott Hartnell was not a fan of calls that he believes cost his club a victory. “It comes down to the end, and you hate to see the referees making calls to get it in overtime and then in overtime some calls,” he said, referencing C Jeff Carter’s hooking penalty in the third period that preceded Malkin’s tying power-play goal and the Flyers’ 3-on-5 disadvantage when Guerin scored in OT.

So, dear reader, I ask you: Are the Flyers being penalized unfairly by officials in this series?

Send your thoughts via e-mail.

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Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

 
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