Saturday, April 21, 2012
Power play continues to be the advantage
By Scott Burnside
Special teams once again played a large part in the story arc of Game 5, as the Flyers continue to take advantage of Pittsburgh’s lack of discipline. They opened the scoring when Matt Carle sneaked a long shot past netminder Marc-Andre Fleury with two seconds left on their first power-play opportunity and then added a second power-play goal late in the first period on a 5-on-3, with Scott Hartnell capitalizing.
The Penguins, though, did manage to kill off the final two Flyer power plays, thanks in large part to Fleury’s heroics.
The Penguins, whose own power play has been potent in this series, produced one goal as well, a first-period tally by Steve Sullivan.
The two teams have combined for 19 power-play goals in the series with Philadelphia holding an 11-8 edge. They are two power-play goals short of tying the NHL single-series record of 21.
Although the Flyers are enjoying a distinct special-teams advantage (they also have three short-handed goals), they have not been effective scoring at even strength. In fact, they have not scored at even strength since 27 seconds into the third period of Game 3.
Overall, the Penguins are outscoring the Flyers 17-11 in the series when at even strength, including their final two goals in Game 5 by Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy.
Easy Does It, Geno
Not a particularly good night for defending regular-season scoring champ Evgeni Malkin, who took two minor penalties and was generally not a factor offensively.
Head coach Dan Bylsma acknowledged that Malkin let his emotions get the better of him.
“Tonight we got a huge game from Jordan Staal and a game-winning goal from Tyler Kennedy. Tonight Geno, the emotions got the best of him in some of the situations and he took those two penalties. But our team came up big on the kill there,” Bylsma said. “We need everybody at their best, we need Geno at his best ... for Game 6."