Five reasons Flyers up 3-0
Chris Stevenson, QMI Agency
|The Philadelphia Flyers celebrate their overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarter-final hockey game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 11, 2012. (REUTERS/ Jason Cohn)
1. Last goal wins: If there has been one shocking development in this series, it's been the amount of offence. Unfortunately for the Penguins, most of it's been by the Flyers, who have outscored the Pens 20-12. Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has a save percentage of .798, but hasn't gotten a lot of help from his teammates. Who knew the Flyers could make the Penguins' defencemen look this bad?
2. Special teams: The Penguins are 3-for-12 on the power play and a 25% efficiency is pretty good, right? Not when the the Flyers' power play is running at a 60% clip (6-for-10). On top of that, the Penguins have given up three short-handed goals, so their power play is but even at this point. The Penguins penalty killing has been weak and now it will be without Craig Adams, who is suspended for a game after taking an instigator penalty in the last five minutes of Game 3.
3. Sean Couturier vs. Evgeni Malkin. This has been no contest. You would think the Art Ross Trophy winner would be eating a 19-year-old rookie's lunch, but Couturier is out-scoring Malkin 3-0. "Couturier has played so good," said Flyers winger Scott Hartnell. "If you think he's getting under his skin, I think you're right on the money there. The goals are great by Couturier, but you can really tell the way he's playing defence, the way that line plays against them, it's awesome to see. You can see the frustration in their lineup."
4. Discipline: The Penguins have been the ones doing the yapping in the scrums and sparking most of the after-the-whistle stuff. "We're trying to stay out of it," said Hartnell. "We don't want to get involved in that war of words or whatever. We're playing the game the right way. We're finishing checks, we're keeping our elbows down and playing the game the right way."
5. Bryz-ing to victory: Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov hasn't been great by any stretch of the imagination and he has given up pretty much a questionable goal a game. But whatever warts Bryzgalov might have are miniscule compared to the ugliness that is being prepetrated at the other end of the rink.