With no games to waste anymore, the Penguins came out firing against their biggest rivals in a back and forth battle. The tone, as always, was set by the rabid Philadelphia fans when the organ sounded, instead of chanting "Let's-go-Flyers!" they, as usual, shouted "Cros-by su-cks!" Two goals and two assists later, the fans would file out of the arena a lot quieter than they walked in. Now, some thoughts:
- In our continuing trend, the Penguins still have not been out-shot in the short reign of interim head coach Dan Byslma. Today it was even 27-27.
- Ruslan Fedotenko found the net on two of his three shots on goal, and he had an assist on an Evgeni Malkin- Sidney Crosby combination. The Penguins have long been looking for winger support, and Fedotenko definitely supplied it. His health and continued success with the big boys is exactly what the team needs to keep winning.
- Just yesterday I pointed out Pascal Dupuis' lack of production. And while "Dupper" didn't score a goal, he had three assists, one of which including getting the puck to Crosby for the game winner.
- The Penguins defense combined to block 10 shots (led by Hal Gill's 4)...The Flyers defense blocked just three (though the team blocked 9).
- Marc-Andre Fleury has appeared in 21 games since the calendar turned to 2009, and while you have to wonder if it'll eventually have an effect on him, he did enough to win tonight. Sure he gave up four goals, but he also made several excellent saves (including a poke-check on Mike Richards from point blank). It's not pretty, but it doesn't always have to be.
- Evgeni Malkin did well to have a goal and an assist, pushing his scoring lead to 11 points over Alex Ovechkin (Crosby is three above AO and eight behind Geno).
- But, as usual, this game comes down to Sidney Crosby. He won 65% of his faceoffs (the other Penguin centers won just 42% of theirs). Crosby was credited with two hits, three takeaways (but two giveaways) in addition to his two goal, two assist and +3 game. That also includes the game winner with 2:45 left in the game.
- Speaking of, what is Martin "French Toast" Biron even thinking coming out to play that puck way further than any other goalie would dream of? The referee already had his arm raised for a delay of game penalty on Biron before Dupuis got the puck and flung it down towards Crosby. It's almost like Biron was telling the Flyers to trade for Kari Lehtonen.
Two points in the book with an intense, physical and spirited game against a rival.....24 hours from now we do it all again when the Pens take a train down to Washington to try to beat AO and the boys for the first time this year.