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Postgame: Flyers @ Penguins 4/2/2008

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Flyers lost last night’s game in the second period.  They permitted the Penguins time and space to skate them ragged, something the Flyers avoided in the first and third by dictating a slower pace and consistently controlling the puck.  They also allowed frustrations over some questionable calls to distract them from their game plan, taking additional penalties and giving Pittsburgh the opportunity to win.

Pittsburgh, however, should be worried.  The Flyers did control of the tempo of the game for all but the middle 10 minutes.  They played excellent man-to-man coverage at even strength.  Philadelphia had several excellent scoring chances, including a sizzling point shot in the third period from Braydon Coburn that Fleury somehow managed to snatch out of traffic.  The only goals for the Penguins came on the power play.  It will not be a slam dunk for the Penguins when they come to Philadelphia on Sunday.

Notes:

– Players on both sides commented on the playoff atmosphere of this game.  I wish the referees had brought a similar attitude.  I thought veterans Dan Marouelli and Kerry Fraser did a great job early in the game, making sure that the physical play didn’t explode into a bench brawl situation.  That said, I strongly believe that the pairing missed a few calls in the second period.  You cannot take time off during the game, whether you’re a player or a ref.

– I know several Pittsburgh journalists and fans who profess that Crosby has matured and stopped his whining ways.  Maybe it’s true, but I have yet to see that.  And that’s a shame because he makes incredible plays – just look at his deflection on Sergei Gonchar’s point shot to gain the fourth goal. 

But Crosby continually seems to believe that he deserves a different standard of treatment than anyone else does.  He spent an entire TV timeout complaining to the officials about getting knocked down and losing his helmet in front of the Flyers net during a scrum.  News flash: that happens to at least one player in every game played in the NHL without incurring penalties.  As for those who point to Crosby drawing three times as many penalties as other stars like Alfredsson or Kovalchuk, may I point out that the squeaky wheel gets the grease?

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