Heading into this series, or even the playoffs for that matter, no one doubted that Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar would find a way to pick up valuable points. It's safe to say those guys were expected to do so and as of right now, minus obvious consideration for Gonchar's injury, have not disappointed.
However it was hard to say who on the Penguins would willingly fill the gap on nights when the opposition shut down the top two lines. One of the things this series has in common with the Philly series is that depth on both sides of the puck is playing a key part in either team's success. Remember that sense of defeat when Philly's third/fourth liners Arron Asham and Daniel Carcillo notched goals? It's devestating in a way to think that Pitt's defense managed to shut down the big guns (Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, Mike Richards) but yet the guys picking up less than 10 minutes of ice time a game pose as the difference makers.
Well it would seem Pitt's depth really shined through in last night's 4-3 overtime win over the Capitals. Although Malkin netted the flukey game-winner, the other three Pittsburgh goals came from the likes of guys who normally don't light up the scoring sheet. The ever promising third line of Jordan Staal, Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke is easily one of the highlight marks of this playoff run. Although it doesn't show on the score sheet that line has been a menace to the Capitals throughout this series. Last night the hustle finally paid off, as both Staal and Cooke picked up crucial goals en route to a win. Even a mishmosh line of Ruslan Fedotenko, Malkin and Max Talbot resulted in another notch for Tank, a guy who is easily playing some of his best hockey as of late.
Crosby and Malkin will get it done on a regular basis but it's nice to know there's a supporting cast willing to chip in when needed. Last night was an example of that need and the third and fourth liners stepped it up to make it happen. I've always been a firm believer in the idea that deeper scoring leads to a deeper playoff run. If the Pens can keep this up, then we may be looking at another legitment run for the Cup.