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4/14/2009

What The Critics Are Saying...



Scott Burnside from ESPN.com...


The Penguins, meanwhile, made wholesale changes to their forward unit in the offseason and battled injuries along the blue line before making a midseason coaching change when a playoff spot was in jeopardy. Under rookie coach Dan Bylsma, the Penguins were 18-3-4. And while Pittsburgh would love to have Marian Hossa back in the lineup, Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin were nice trade-deadline additions and the team's fortunes have predictably improved since Sergei Gonchar returned from early-season shoulder surgery. And, oh yeah, they've got a couple of players named Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.... ...This is like a science experiment. When two offensive masses collide, there will be breakdowns, and they will occur more often and more cataclysmically with the Philadelphia Flyers. Penguins in six.

The Folks at TSN...

A reason to cheer for the Penguins:The Penguins were just shy of capturing their third Stanley Cup in franchise history last year and nothing short of finishing the job this spring will be acceptable. Those high hopes are remarkable considering that just a couple of months ago, pundits were wondering if this team would even make the playoffs. With new coach Dan Bylsma at the helm and Evgeni Malkin making his case for the Hart Trophy (finishing first in league scoring and leading all Penguins players in scoring for the second consecutive season), Pittsburgh is back in the contenders' conversation.

What They Bring To The Table: While trade deadline acquisitions Chris Kunitz and veteran winger Bill Guerin don't have the same level of talent that Marian Hossa brought last year, they do add plenty of grit and experience while filling the scoring void on the wing that the club needed most of the season. The Penguins also have solid character players like Pascal Dupuis and Maxime Talbot, who are always ready to provide energy and support for the blueliners. The club had to give up a good offensive defenceman in Ryan Whitney, but have enough depth with the return of power play specialist Sergei Gonchar and the emergence of young Kris Letang. Goaltending is everything in the postseason, and Marc-Andre Fleury should be solid in goal if he builds on last spring's postseason run.

From NHL.com...

Pittsburgh will win if -- It can come out ahead in the special-teams' battle. There is very little that separates these teams, so special teams could be the difference. Pittsburgh, obviously, has a good power play, but will be going up against an aggressive, highly efficient penalty kill. If Philadelphia's shorthanded unit can blunt the effectiveness of Gonchar and Co., this could become a frustrating series for the Penguins. Philadelphia will win if -- It can establish a physical superiority. These aren't the Broad Street Bullies of old, but they are a team that still feeds off setting a physical tone and wearing a team down. With Pittsburgh's bevy of skill players -- especially Crosby and Malkin -- it behooves the Flyers to initiate contact whenever possible in an attempt to slow down or discourage the Penguins.


From CBSSports.com...

If there is a possible cure for the funk Philadelphia has been in for the last few weeks, it could be a playoff date with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Since there has never been any love lost between the cross-state rivals and even more distaste from the Flyers after they lost the conference final to the Penguins last spring, the adrenaline rush might just be enough to snap Philadelphia back to attention.

Trouble is, that probably won't mean all that much against the Penguins, who have another scoring champion in Evgeni Malkin and look like a lot better team now than the one that went to the Stanley Cup Finals. Pittsburgh has transformed under Dan Bylsma, who took over as coach in February and immediately began stressing attack instead of retreat, which has made the Penguins one of the league's most dangerous offenses over the last two months.

The return of Sergei Gonchar obviously helped, and the acquisitions of Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin gave Sidney Crosby someone to play with. But the Penguins aren't sacrificing defense and more important, are getting stellar work from goalie Marc Andre Fleury these days. That's not good news for the Flyers, even though they have four 30-goal scorers in the lineup and two more in the mid-20s. Philadelphia hasn't generated enough offense lately, and that makes them even more vulnerable because Martin Biron hasn't been steady enough in goal.


From the ChronicleHerald...

This one is personal for Jimmy, as readers well know about his blind spot for all things Philly. And, of course, after predicting Evgeni Malkin would get pushed around all season and fold his tent, the big Russian went out and won the Art Ross. Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne give the Flyers a fighting chance in this series, but the Pens are playing much better hockey overall under Dan Bylsma. Both teams have erratic goaltending, making this a high-scoring series. A perfect setting for the Wizard of Croz to work some spring magic. Penguins in seven games.

2 comments:

fleuryous said...

Liking those odds...

Damian M. Romano said...

Yeah, I'm liking what I read so far. I like how NHL.com basically said in order for Philly to win they'll need to stop (get physical with) Crosby and Malkin.

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