Credit where it is due: Bylsma has this team fired up and playing with desperation, as he calls it, or simply urgency, as I see it. Any way you slice it, if he was deserving of criticism late in the season and early in the playoffs (and I was as critical of him as anyone), he is equally as deserving of the team's current performance. The team looks focused, committed, and determined. Someone pondered above whether the Penguins were playing this good or the Rangers this bad -- it might be a combo of both, but I genuinely see a huge improvement and a style of game that is sustainable and successful in the playoffs.
- Fleury had another solid game, save for the second goal that squeezed between his body and the post. Hard to be too critical of a goalie who gives up 5 goals in 4 games and shuts out his opponent twice. He's in 2009 form -- maybe better (dare I say the best postseason of his career?).
- Malkin has turned on the jets and is flat out dominant. This newly-formed first line (credit Bylsma for adjusting) is a force to be reckoned with. He's in 2009 form, as well.
- Martin and Letang as a pairing is gold, Jerry. Both of offensive skills and instincts, but Martin possesses the necessary speed and defensive awareness/ability to cover for Letang, allowing him to play his game more effectively. In hindsight, it's such an obvious pairing -- but it never even occurred to me until it was put together. Credit Bylsma, again, for keeping the duo together last evening, even when Orpik was available.
- Unsung heroes: Niskanen (bad coverage on the first goal not-withstanding), Jokinen, and Sutter. These guys have, for the most part, flown under the radar, but they're providing the depth/secondary production that will be needed moving forward.
- Lastly, I'll admit that I wasn't happy to see Gibbons in the lineup for game 1 against Columbus, but the kid can flat out fly, and his contributions on the penalty kill have won me over. What he lacks in size, he makes up for two times over in heart. What an awesome sequence leading to the shorty last night!
Penguin hockey is fun/exciting to watch again, and I'm loving it!
Last edited by Defence21
on Thu May 08, 2014 8:38 am, edited 1 time in total.