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Penguins vs Flyers - 2012 Stanley Cup Conference Quarterfinals

Pens need more from MVP candidate Malkin

Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH --There's no getting away from it for the Pittsburgh Penguins: Evgeni Malkin hasn't been himself offensively so far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Philadelphia Flyers are taking a physical approach as they try to slow down the Art Ross Trophy winner, jostling and jarring him whenever possible. They're also shadowing him with 19-year-old center Sean Couturier, who was expected to fill mostly a defensive role in this Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series yet already has three goals.

It would almost seem to be a mismatch, one of the world's most accomplished offensive players against a teenage forward who wasn't being counted on heavily by coach Peter Laviolette for playing time or for contributions when the season started.


Giroux continues playoff, big game excellence

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Claude Giroux
Right Wing - PHI
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 6
SOG: 11 | +/-: 4

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Flyers center Claude Giroux was happy his team emerged from Game 1 of its Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 4-3 overtime win, but on a personal level, he wasn't particularly happy with how he played.

He had one shot in 20:37 of ice time and won 11 of 17 faceoffs, but it wasn't enough.

"I know he was mad after the first game for I guess not chipping in offensively," Danny Briere told NHL.com. "Basically, I told him we're a team. It's not just about one guy … I'm sure you'll be there when it matters."

It mattered Saturday in Game 2, and Giroux was there in a huge way in the Flyers' 8-5 victory that gave them a 2-0 series edge heading into Game 3 back in Philadelphia on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN).


Couturier's maturity belies his age

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Flyers rookie Sean Couturier stood in the corner of the visitors' dressing room holding his hat-trick puck, smiling as the cameras rushed over to document the moment and provide the image that one day, much later in his life, will be a cherished piece of his memorabilia.

Sean Couturier
Center - PHI
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 4
SOG: 6 | +/-: 3
It isn't right now. Couturier, at 19 years old, is too mature to let his personal success get in the way of the ultimate goal.

"I haven't really thought about it," he told NHL.com shortly after posing with the puck he used to score his hat trick goal with 1:49 left in the Flyers 8-5 win against Pittsburgh on Friday night. "It's special right now. It's great, but what is most important is the big win. We bounced back, battled back hard, and that's most important."

Couturier doesn't look like a teenager. He's tall, somewhat lanky, but strong with long hair that he has to tie back so it doesn't cover his face.


Pens can't hold leads, must play from behind

Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- They led 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 3-1 and 3-2 in Game 1 -- and lost.

They led 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4 in Game 2 -- and lost again.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are proving they can't play with a lead in what already is a wild, unpredictable and full-throttle Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers. Now down 2-0 and headed to Philadelphia for a must-win Game 3 on Sunday, they'll find out if they can play from behind.

The Penguins offered plenty of reasons to explain why they couldn't hold a 3-0 lead during their 4-3 overtime loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Wednesday. Among them were a failed power play, defensive lapses and a failure to protect what should have been a safe lead.

Explaining away their 8-5 loss in Game 2 at Consol Energy Center on Friday night was much tougher. The answers certainly didn't come nearly as easily as goals did for the Flyers, who got hat tricks from both star center Claude Giroux and rookie Sean Couturier while scoring seven goals in the final two periods.


Penguins' power-play changes might not be minor

Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby might be out with the first unit and with a different second unit. James Neal might come off the ice at times. Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, as dangerous a twosome as there is in the NHL with a man advantage, might not be on the ice together.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are tweaking and tinkering with their power play for Game 2 against the Philadelphia Flyers after going 0-for-3 in Game 1. Some of the changes will be minor, but others could be major.

For example, coach Dan Bylsma is weighing whether to use two different units rather than relying on one unit in which Malkin and Crosby are out for most of a power play. The units would switch roughly halfway into a power play.


Flyers' Voracek earning Jagr-level attention

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Like so many hockey-playing kids in his neighborhood in Kladno, Czech Republic, Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek had a poster of Jaromir Jagr tacked on his bedroom wall. He even had a mullet when he was 5 or 6 years old, though Voracek swears it only was because his mom made him sit in the barbershop chair and get one.

Jakub Voracek
Right Wing - PHI
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 1
SOG: 3 | +/-: 0
"It was popular then," he said with a smile. "I'm sure other kids had them because of Jagr, though."

Voracek, who said his hair is long enough for him to have a mullet today, has found a different and more fulfilling way to take after his childhood idol.

While all the kids in his neighborhood dreamt of meeting and perhaps one day getting to skate with Jagr, who also is from Kladno, Voracek now carpools with the future Hall of Famer to practice because they live in the same neighborhood and play on the same team in the National Hockey League.


Penguins need more from Malkin against Flyers

Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Evgeni Malkin, the Art Ross Trophy winner, is off to a quiet start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Malkin, who secured his second scoring title by scoring 25 points in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ final 14 games, didn’t have a point during a 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Wednesday.


Letang's quick start negated by bad finish

Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Kris Letang isn't always the most orthodox defenseman. His positioning can be awkward, and he occasionally relies on his instincts rather than making the safer or the textbook play.

But his creativity, speed and passing ability put him in a rare class among NHL players, and those qualities were very much on display as he assisted on the Pittsburgh Penguins' first two goals against Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Wednesday night.

However, Letang – stationed in front of the net – couldn't get his stick on the Matt Carle shot-pass that set up Jakub Voracek for the game-winning goal in overtime that sealed the Flyers' comeback from a three-goal deficit and a 4-3 victory at Consol Energy Center.


Flyers' Briere shines in playoffs again

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Danny Briere doesn't have an answer for why the playoffs seem to be his time to shine. He shouldn't go searching for one either.

Just go with it.

"At the end of the day it doesn't matter what I do. It's all about the team, it's all about a win," Briere said humbly after igniting the Flyers 4-3 come-from-behind overtime win Wednesday with a pair of goals. "I can play as well as I could, but if we don't win that game nobody cares in this room and I don't care. We're trying to move on. There is only one goal. All we care about is winning games."


No Penguins lead is safe against Flyers

Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- With their six high-contribution rookies and their ability to come back from almost any deficit, the Philadelphia Flyers truly are the NHL's Comeback Kids. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who own a decided advantage in playoff experience in their cross-state series against their big rival, know better than anyone.

The Flyers surged back from a 3-0 deficit and the Penguins' clear-cut dominance in the first period to beat Pittsburgh 4-3 in overtime Wednesday night at Consol Energy Center and grab a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Game 2 is Friday night.

That's a pretty short period of time for the Penguins to push aside such a troubling loss.

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Quote of the Day

It was the look in his eyes. Hockey is the most important thing in his life. He wants to be a hockey player, and nothing's going to stop him from being a hockey player.

— Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin on forward Alex Galchenyuk's potential