Winning two rounds is big and takes contributions from up and down the roster. Here’s seven guys who’ve earned kudos.
+ Sidney Crosby – Obviously the man last series.
+ Kris Letang – Last season Letang had 0 goals, 2 assists in the playoffs over 16 games. This year, through 12 games, Letang’s got 3 goals and 6 assists. Huge reversal, and ‘Tanger appeared to fight through what could have been a shoulder injury early in the Caps series without missing a beat.
+ Bill Guerin – Billy G bombed as a playoff rental for
+Mark Eaton – Eaton has scored 4 goals in 139 regular season games with the Penguins in his career. He’s got 4 goals in 13 games this playoff and is showing a lot of poise carrying the puck. Who knows how long this uncharacteristic offensive outburst will last, but it sure is nice. Eaton’s +/- rating is a +6, impressive since the next best Penguin defender is a +2.
+Ruslan Fedotenko – Before this playoffs, Fedotenko had 4 assists in 53 career games. He’s got 4 assists and 4 goals in 13 games this spring. Fedotenko is playing like a legit top six player, and he’s bringing a physical aspect too; his clean hit on Eric Fehr knocked the Cap out of the playoffs. With the disappearance of Petr Sykora the Pens desperately needed someone to step up and produce on Malkin's line. 'Tank has answered that call.
+Evgeni Malkin – Again almost quietly Malkin has 19 points in the playoffs, just two less than the more celebrated
+Rob Scuderi/Hal Gill pairing –It’s a little weird to say Rob Scuderi and his partner Hal Gill did a good job on Alex Ovechkin, since the guy got 14 points in 7 games. But Scuderi and Gill really did to a good job on AO. They gave him about nothing in terms of a gap as Ovechkin was bringing it up, he had no room. They used sticks and reach to keep knocking the puck away from him. They stepped in front of his shots to block or deflect them away. They kept AO’s chances to the outside and bad shooting angles for the most part. In the first series they did the same to Jeff Carter (0 goals). The Pens are gonna need their shutdown D-men for either Eric Staal or Marc Savard’s line next series.
So who'd I leave off? Am I a dope for not mentioning Sergei Gonchar? A certain goaltender who's won 8 playoff games? Anyone gonna give some love to Satan for his bounce back and perseverance he's shown lately? Honor your seven Penguins in the comments if you wish.