Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pens beat Flyers 4-1, take series lead 1-0

(Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

Wooooooooooooo! Could last night's game have been any better? Okay, so there's always room for improvement, especially on the power play when the Flyers give you endless ones, but an almost shutout is something we'll take. Not to mention a 1-0 series lead.

The Pens executed their game plan pretty well and it worked out in their favor. They played the majority of the time in the offensive zone, they were aggressive and physical, and didn't let the Flyers get under their skin. The same can't be said of the Flyers. We wish the Pens had made them pay a little more on the power play, but so far the Flyers look like they'll be taking a lot of penalties. But then again, what else is new? Scotty Hartnell decided to give the Pens a lot of that time, including getting a ten-minute misconduct penalty. That one was at the very end of the game, but he was still causing trouble like he always does. And as long as he doesn't injure someone, we say go for it, it can help the Pens.

Speaking of injuring people, why exactly do the Flyers get away with as much as they do? How many times last night were they trying to hurt people? The trip of Letang, the hit to the head on...we forgot, the hit on Staal, the cross-checking over and over. A lot of that stuff is just plain dirty and it's ridiculous in our opinion. Godard may have to make an appearance.

Overall the Pens played pretty well and the Flyers did not. The Pens can work on a few things but you can't argue too much about last night's game, especially when they won 4-1 and are leading the series. Fleury looked good, confident, and comfortable in net, while Martin Biron did not. If the Pens stick to the game plan of playing a north to south game, being aggressive and physical, and playing in the offensive zone they shouldn't have any problems winning this series. Especially if the Flyers remain as flat and undisciplined as they were last night.

Random thoughts:

- How great does Tyler Kennedy look? He's all over the ice, fighting for the puck, getting there quicker than anyone else. He's like a little ball of fury. A tough one at that. He was rewarded last night with his first playoff goal in his career and he deserved it.

- Mark Eaton looks good lately as well. He's making all kinds of plays and even scored another goal last night, his first in the post-season in his career. His sliding across the ice and breaking up that pass in front of the net was nice too.

- Chris Kunitz became a daddy yesterday to a son named Zachary James about 10 hours before the start of the game. He didn't get a goal but he was hitting people all over the place. We think he'll be a nice factor in the post-season as it moves on.

- How awesome are Malkin's parents? They are having the time of their lives watching their star son play hockey. Dad and Mom are obviously very proud. It looked as if Dad was going to cry after he scored a goal and Mom had a 71 on her cheek and was waving her towel. We like that they don't hold back their emotions and it's high fives all around. If you head over to Empty Netters, Seth saw a nice group of people with Dad chanting MVP and taking pictures with him. As Seth said, we don't know how much English they understand but they sure get the MVP and how much fans love their son.

Okay, we borrowed (stole) Seth's picture:

(Seth over at EN)

- How ready is Sidney Crosby for the playoffs?

- We love Matt Cooke.

- Jordan Staal is really coming into his own too. He had a great game last night.

- The Flyers are dirty.

The Rangers beat the Capitals last night 4-3. How awesome is that? But yet somehow Ovie still managed to get the number 1 star. We know they don't have to win to get that but the number 2 star had a goal and two assists while Ovie only had two assists. No, we didn't watch that game but you can't tell us that Ovie was shutting people down with his superior defensive skills or anything.

The Devils also won last night over the Hurricanes 4-1. Still want the Devils now? :)

Go Pens!