Pittsburgh wins game #5 to advance to Stanley Cup Finals
Young guns lead the Pens to first finals in 16 years
Game 5 – Pittsburgh Penguins 6 – Philadelphia Flyers 0
The Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh hosted a much better show than the fans paid for, as their Penguins won 6-0 over the Flyers to win the Eastern Conference finals, in 5 games. Before, during and after the game, the 17,000 patrons in “the igloo” were waving their white towels, improving Pittsburgh’s home record to 8-0 in the playoffs. Marc-Andre Fleury had a 21 save performance for this 3 rd shut out of the post season, while Marian Hossa finished Philadelphia with a 4 point night.
This blowout began when Ryan Malone opened the scoring on the power play less than 3 minutes into the game on assists from Sidney Crosby and Hossa. Evgeni Malkin arose from his 3 game silence popping in Pittsburgh’s 2 nd goal at the 9:50 mark of the first period, taking the Pens to a quick 2-0 lead. The flood gates opened in the 2 nd frame as Hossa, Malone and Jordan Staal all scored to really destroy the hopes and dreams of Philly, owning a 5-0 lead going into the third period.
Hossa ended his memorable 4 point night, assisting on the Pascal Dupuis’ goal that made the game 6-0 for the Pens and ended a 16 year drought of not being in the Stanley Cup finals. Even the great Mario Lemieux showed emotion after the game. Just think, before Pittsburgh drafted Crosby, they were in a financial mess who were threatening to move the team out of town.
Lemieux has sold out his arena for 64 straight games, including game #5 on Sunday afternoon. The Crosby, Malkin, Hossa trio, must also bring him memories of the Lemieux, Jagr, Francis trio of the past who won many cups. This Pittsburgh team is playing years better than they should with their quick maturity that has 7 starters born in 1984 or later.
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Here are the key factors in this series as stated in our 2008 Eastern Conference finals preview:
Malkin dominated Danny Briere in this series with more goals, assists, points and of course, wins. Briere earned 12 points after the first round but only managed 4 in his final 2 series; not good. The Pens have 3 players with 19 points or more, Malkin being one of them.
Martin Biron was worse than terrible in game #5 and with Fleury’s shutout, he looks even worse. Biron allowed 6 goals on 26 shots on net for a save percentage of a scary .760. Fleury makes it look a lot easier than it is, staying calm and controlling his rebounds. No question, Fleury won this battle, hands down.
Kimmo Timonen made his series debut in game #5 but finished with a dreadful -2 plus/minus. Not a good return for someone who was supposed to be a game breaker. He did control Alexandre Ovechkin in round 1 and Alexei Kovelev in round 2 that both lead to wins. Unfortunately for him and the Flyers, he was away from game play too long and could not control Crosby in game #5, as he recorded 2 assists.
Pittsburgh now awaits the winner of the Detroit/Dallas series that may end Monday night, since the Wings have a 3-2 series lead. The Penguins were thought to be the team of the future but are proving to be the team of the present. They were presented with the Prince of Wales Trophy as the Eastern Conference champions and Captain Crosby cautiously made sure not to touch it for traditional and superstitious reasons.
The Penguins will sit back and hope that the Wings and Stars beat the hell out of the each other, so whoever they play, will be near broken. The Stanley Cup is very close for this young team and will only get better in years to come.
Pittsburgh wins series 4-1.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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