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Eastern final – post-game (Game 1)

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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.

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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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