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Pens clinch playoff berth with 2-0 victory over Buffalo

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The Pittsburgh Penguins are in the 2015 NHL playoffs!

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

As you know by now, the Pittsburgh Penguins are in the playoffs! We're late on the recap, so let's give a few points of things that stood out:

  • Marc-Andre Fleury was very good. He knew he wouldn't have a large margin of error with a banged up and slowed down undermanned defense, so he did everything possible to put Pittsburgh in the playoffs. Buffalo didn't exactly pepper him with a number of high caliber chances but MAF was there to answer the bell.
  • Brandon Sutter struck twice for his 20th and 21st goals of the season- both scored from right in front of the net too. Sutter had a successful 2014 playoffs (5 goals, 2 assists in 13 games) and he's entering this playoffs on a hot streak too with 4 goals in the last 5 games. For a guy who catches a lot of grief, we'll gladly give him his due here if he can keep filling the net.
  • And that pass by Daniel Winnik for Sutter's second goal showed great patience and touch. Winnik's displayed a lot of that as a Penguin, and a 3rd line built with Winnik as a passer and Sutter as a shooter is a pretty good combo right now.
  • Sidney Crosby did not win the scoring title this year, thanks to Jamie Benn 's remarkable hot streak to end the season. Good for Benn. Not a knock on Crosby, just a great year for Benn. I'm sure Sid's just happy that the team won their last game and was able to punch their ticket for the playoffs.
  • Seems odd to say, but these past few games might have been the best for Rob Scuderi of the season. He was a called on to play 26:38, was a +2 and was pretty steady in the good way. It's odd, because a player that old, who played every single game of the season, probably shouldn't be ramping up performance this late. Not saying he's an All-Star level or that he's suddenly Erik Karlsson or something, but Scuderi's good play ought to be noted too.
  • And Ian Cole has been really, really good as a Penguin. A lot of people- myself included- figured he might be a 7th defenseman by the final game of the regular season. Unfortunately, with the injuries that wasn't meant to be and instead Cole is leading the team in ice-time (27:38) and deservedly so, getting extra shifts and lots of work because of his effectiveness.
  • Craig Adams dressed as the 13th forward (which they could use since only the 5 defensemen) and didn't play a single shift. The old grocery stick. Sad ending for Adams, who might not factor into the playoffs at all unless there are injuries.
  • Nice to see Evgeni Malkin fire 6 shots on goal and win 67% of his 24 faceoffs. Reports have indicated a knee and/or back injury are still bugging him, so it's nice he'll have a bunch of days off to rest- if he needs it- before Thursday's opener.
  • No power plays were awarded. For either team. Congrats, refs. Only 2 penalties total when Crosby bumped goalie Anders Lindback a hair after the whistle and Lindback attacked him.
  • If this season has taught anything, it is never to take things fore-granted. The Penguins made the playoffs for the 9th year in a row, as they probably should have given their talent, but like in life, nothing is given, everything is earned. Just a little Sunday afternoon wisdom to end it off with.