PHILADELPHIA – The Penguins continue to join elite company in their playoff voyage.
Tuesday night’s 4-1 win in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Philadelphia raised the Penguins’ postseason record to 11-1 this year. They are the first team since the 1983 Edmonton Oilers and the fourth overall to win 11 of their first 12 in the playoffs.
“That doesn’t mean a lot to us, to be honest with you. From the outside looking in, it looks pretty nice. But, we’ve taken the right approach throughout the whole playoffs, just going game by game and even almost period by period, not trying to get too far ahead of ourselves,” Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “We’re getting close to where we want to be, but I don’t think anyone is content with what we’ve done so far.”
One more win over the Flyers will put the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1992. However, the team is not ready to punch its tickets yet.
“We have a long way to go. I am not going to say anything about that,” Penguins winger Ryan Malone said. “That’ll be nice if it happened, but we have to get ready for Game 4.”
Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar denied a golden scoring opportunity for Philadelphia in the second period. Mike Richards broke in alone on Marc-Andre Fleury in an attempt to tie the game at 2-all, but before he could shoot the puck, Gonchar hustled back and swatted the puck off Richards’ stick with a full-extension desperation dive.
“It happened so quickly, but we saw the replay and it looked like a hell of a play to us from the bench,” Orpik said. “I thought he made a great recovery. Richards is so good at picking spots there, especially shorthanded getting breakaways. If you give him anything, he has such good speed he can get behind you there.”
FIRST WIN IN PHILLY
The Penguins went 0-4 at the Wachovia Center during the regular season. That factoid didn’t seem to bother the team in the playoffs as it dominated the Flyers for the 4-1 triumph in Game 3.
“I think it’s rewarding. You come into a building that’s a challenge to play in. You’re facing against some adversity. And you really have the guys on your bench and your team behind you, that’s it,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “And, it feels like you’re against more than just their team. So, it’s a rewarding feeling to come out of that with a win.”
Gary Roberts did not play in Game 3 for the Penguins due to illness. Adam Hall took Roberts’ spot on the fourth line.
Roberts did not practice Tuesday morning either. He is listed as day to day.
ALL ON BOARD
Hal Gill’s assist on Marian Hossa’s empty-net goal Tuesday night meant every Penguins player to dress for a playoff game this season has recorded at least one point.