A few post-game notes following the Penguins’ 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final:
THE TRIB TRIFECTA
1. G Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins: So far, he’s been the best goalie in either conference final.
2. D Philippe Boucher, Penguins: Putting his best foot forward (pun SOOO intended) in the playoffs.
3. RW Miroslav Satan, Penguins: Miro, Miro on the wall; who has five points in his past six games?
*DON’T LOOK NOW, BUT: Penguins C Evgeni Malkin – you know, the guy so many folks think can play so much better – has recorded 21 points in 14 playoff games. He totaled 22 points in 20 playoff games in 2008.
Yep, ‘Geno’ is rotten to the core lately with nine points in a four-game streak.
If we’re going to credit C Sidney Crosby for recording points even when he’s not at his best – as many have after he finished third in scoring during the regular season despite a slow start (by his standard) – shouldn’t we also praise Malkin for doing the same?
Crosby is the playoff MVP favorite right now; but would anybody be shocked if Malkin finished atop the playoff scoring list presuming the Penguins reach the Cup final?
STATISTIC THAT SHOULD INTEREST YINZ: The Penguins are 5-3 over the past three playoff season in series openers. They’ve not lost a series they started with a victory.
QUOTE AND A QUESTION
“For a lot of the night, we were looking for a better option. They did a good job getting in the shooting lanes, taking away the first option. We were slow moving the puck to open up other lanes.”
Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice, after Game 1
I’m starting to wonder if the Penguins’ team defense has hit a peak-level. Considering the limited chances – by his standard, anyway – afford Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin over the final five games of a second-round series and taking into account Maurice’s assessment from Game 1, is it possible that Penguins coach Dan Bylsma’s originally stated-theory – that the best defense is a puck-controlling offense (not a direct quote) – is rounding into measurable form before our very eyes?
Yinz know the drill, dear readers. Send your thoughts via e-mail.