Monday, 24 April, 2017

Crosby, Penguins edge Blue Jackets 4-1 for 2-0 series lead

Melissa Porter | 17 April, 2017, 06:48

He's expected to play in Game 3. "You feel better about yourself and your game".

Through the first two games of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins have shown that they have been here before. Good thing we still have him huh? I think we're just trying to read off each other. Due to the NHL's increased focus on player safety, they will likely come down hard on Calvert, especially since the stick breaking had an added dramatic effect to what was already a dirty blindside hit to begin with.

The key, Penguins shot-blocking extraordinaire Ian Cole explained, is to get in front of pucks without losing mobility and with a keen awareness of the goalie's view of the play.

"Obviously, you'd like to keep shots down as much as possible, but blocking shots is a fact of life in the playoffs", forward Matt Cullen said. "I don't know why we're starting now".

In Friday's game, he stopped 39 of 40 shots for his 55th career playoff win, one short of the team record set by Tom Barrasso. Pittsburgh blocked 23 shots before they even got to Fleury.

His club-record 102nd playoff appearance looked an terrible lot like his 101st, when he held the Blue Jackets in check during an early push then waited for NHL's best offense to find its footing.

Despite the deficit, Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella likes the aggressive play and is eager to get home to Columbus. "I'm proud of our club, the way they've handled themselves". The period closed out with the Penguins holding a 2-1 lead. The 26-year-old winger provided a spark physically, running around like a wrecking ball early in the game laying the body to any and all San Jose Sharks. They both understand that and they're both high-character guys which I think helps a lot. "We did a pretty good job", Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Friday night.

So as Game 3 looms Sunday evening in OH, the most comfortable and competent goaltender in sight appears to be Fleury, and maybe someone ought to notice that if a goalie coach is to be judged on having every available netminding option fully ready to perform at the highest level, Bales must be a pretty darned good one.

The Jackets were averaging just over three goals a game heading into the post-season and had a shooting percentage of 8.17% in 5-on-5 play. "We can't deviate. We have to stick to the program and hopefully we get some bounces so we can feel good and get some more goals from there". St. Louis opened the scoring with another goal scored by Joel Edmundson (?!) on a power-play shot from the point.