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East final – post-game (Game 4)

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Some thoughts and observations after the Eastern Conference final, which the Penguins swept Tuesday with a 4-1 victory in Game 4 over the Carolina Hurricanes at RBC Center:

STAR GAZING

1. G Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins: At some point he’ll start getting credit (especially if he wins four more games in these playoffs).

2. C Sidney Crosby, Penguins: He’s now tied with some guy named Evgeni Malkin for the playoff scoring lead with 28 points – a new career high for “The Kid.”

3. RW Bill Guerin, Penguins: Mr. Fountain of Youth has seven playoff goals. So, shut it, haters!

HE’S JUST THE GUY THAT SAYS SID IS THE ONE

As I spoke to Guerin in the visitor’s dressing room at RBC Center following the victory, I thought to our first conversation after he was acquired from the New York Islanders on March 4:

RR: Bill, how would you compare yourself at this point in your career to earlier in your career?

BG: To best honest, I don’t think I’ve changed a whole lot. I hope I can convince people in Pittsburgh of that.

In 34 games since joining the Penguins, including 17 playoff contests, Guerin has scored 11 goals and recorded 25 points.

“Without a doubt,” Guerin said when asked if this is the most fun he’s had in a long NHL career. “I’ve enjoyed the whole process, and I just want to keep enjoying it.

“For a player my age (38) to be able to get (the opportunity to play with Crosby) at this point in my career, it’s just really special.”

STAT THAT PROBABLY ONLY INTERESTS ME

In their four ECF series wins the Penguins are 16-3, including 6-3 on the road. In their two ECF losses they are 4-8, including 2-4 on the road.

STAT THAT SHOULD INTEREST YOU

Over the past two postseasons the Penguins are 4-1 in series that last five or fewer games, including winners of four straight. They are 10-2 at home in those series.

STAAL TOGETHER

Hurricanes C Eric Staal on his post-series handshake with brother, Penguins C Jordan Staal: “I just said, ‘Good series and good luck; get it done.’ For us and for him, it’s no fun playing against each other this time of year. For him personally, I want him to get it done.”

———

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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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