Heading back to Pittsburgh tonight the Penguins find themselves one game away from advancing to the semi-finals for the second year in a row. Last year’s first round meeting with the Senators proved fairly easy in a 4-0 sweep. Other than game one, this year has proven more difficult despite the 3-1 lead in the series. Though thus far the Penguins have proven they’re the better team.
Game 1 was just total domination. The Penguins simply did everything right. They stuck to their guns and their top players converted. Jordan Staal was a total beast. He was playing like the All-Star he will be in the years to come.
Rick Moldovanyi rightly notes,
They skated fast. They hit hard. They charged the Flyers net and they protected their own. They blocked shots, lifted sticks and broke up plays.
The Flyers have brought everything they have against the Pens and were only successful 1 out of 4 times. Toughness, determination, but that’s just not enough. Sure they got the Pens off their game in game 3, but in game 4 the Pens shook that tendency right off. I’ll venture to guess the Pens have the Flyers strengths and weaknesses figured out by now. With the fans behind them and a total “whiteout” in place, I can’t imagine the Pens losing tonight. I will say though, if by some freak accident we do, it will prove to be a more difficult road back to Philly for game 6.
So Petr Sykora has been scratched and he’s not happy about it. But this may just be what he needs to get back on track. He has scored only twice in 21 games including playoffs. I can say this: he is certainly not playing with the effort of a man wanting to resign with the Penguins. Satan meanwhile will be playing for the first time since March 4th. I expect he’ll be playing with some tenacity. Yeah, I said it. He wants to play with these guys, and if given a shot I think he’ll capitalize. Remember, the last few lines he was playing on didn’t have very good playmakers like Croby or Malkin. And since he can’t do much other than score goals, well, that leaves him moderately ineffective.
Today Byslma said,
Like our last game, you'll see different looks from our lines on different occasions throughout the game," Bylsma said. "You'll see Miro (with Malkin and Fedotenko) a little bit, but you'll also see different combinations with Evgeni.I say he’ll get 1 assist tonight.
Game Prediction: 5-3 Pens...BRING ON THE SEMI'S!