Thursday, April 19, 2012
Pittsburgh's centers far from cowardly
By Scott Burnside
PHILADELPHIA -- One of the local Philadelphia papers had a picture of Sidney Crosby dressed up as a lion with the headline “The Cowardly Penguin.” Not sure we get it since Crosby was chastised for running around trying to rough up a handful of Philadelphia Flyers in Game 3, but regardless, the Pittsburgh Penguins received monster nights from their big three centers.
Crosby had a goal and two assists. Malkin had two goals and one assist. And Jordan Staal, the best forward on the ice for either team Wednesday night, had a hat trick.
"Yeah, we needed a lot of guys to step up to win this first one and try to keep things rolling, so, you know. A lot of guys in the room know how to play playoff hockey and I thought we had a great effort,” Staal said.
Special teams again ran rampant Wednesday night as the two teams combined to go 7-for-14 with the man advantage. The Pens really lit it up going 4-for-9 with the man advantage and, for a change, didn’t allow the Flyers to deflate them with a shorthanded goal -- something that had happened three times in the first three games.
"Yeah, you know, our penalty kill, obviously a tough start," Staal said. "But we as a team played better keeping the puck out of our net the second and third and found a way to keep scoring as well."
When Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma was asked about the newspaper gag, he just smiled and said the Flyers' fans kept screaming at Crosby and he kept playing.
“Everyone has pride and wants to make sure you're playing the best when you need to be," Crosby added. "It's been a tough series. For guys to respond the way they did is a good sign. It doesn't get any easier. We have to keep going here.
“Especially the way the first period went, it would have been easy to take chances and force things a bit. We didn't do that. We built confidence. The big thing is to limit our mistakes, we did a good job on that.”
Flyers injuriesThe Flyers received some bad news as defenseman Nicklas Grossmann is day to day with an upper-body injury.
Grossmann, acquired at the trade deadline from Dallas, played just 8:54 and it’s believed he was injured in collisions with Tyler Kennedy and Evgeni Malkin.
The Flyers are already missing captain Chris Pronger, of course, and Marc-Andre Bourdon hasn’t returned after being hurt in Game 1.
Discipline questionNowhere near the gong show that we saw in terms of on-ice mayhem during Sunday’s 8-4 win by Philadelphia, you still have to wonder what league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan will think of rookie Zac Rinaldo's mauling of defenseman Zbynek Michalek after wrestling Michalek to the ice.
Rinaldo earned a cross-checking, roughing, game misconduct and 10-minute misconduct on the play.