Thanks, but no thanks.
It’s a superstition for players to touch the Prince of Wales Trophy when their teams win the Eastern Conference championship.
Sidney Crosby and the Penguins are certainly aware of that.
The NHL’s youngest-ever captain was not about to break that tradition. He avoided it at all costs.
“Yeah, I was aware of it. I've watched a lot of Stanley Cup playoff games. You don't see too many guys touch it,” he said. “With a couple of the guys who have been through it before, Sykora and Sydor, they all gave me a heads up, for sure. It’s a good feeling to go up there, but we all realized that's not the one we want to be holding.”
Penguins center Maxime Talbot agrees with that mentality. As soon as he got off the ice, he was thinking about only one thing.
“We have four more to win. That’s what’s going on in my mind,” he said. “It’s nice to get that series, but it won’t mean anything if we don’t win that Cup.”
FLOWER CONTINUES TO BLOOM
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was sharp once again for the Penguins.
He turned aside all 21 Flyers shots he faced as he and the team put an exclamation point on the Eastern Conference championship with the 6-0 win.
Fleury has an NHL-best 12 playoff wins and ranks near the top of every goaltending statistical category.
“In my mind, he’s the MVP of our team and he’s been playing really good,” Talbot said. “To get the shutout is great for him. In the third, we starting to think about our goalie [getting the shutout] and it’s great for him to get a shutout.”
Fleury was sharp and made perhaps his best sequence of saves in the second period when he denied two quick attempts from Flyers Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell.
“I wasn’t too busy. Sometimes, you don’t see so much action,” he said. “But to make two saves like that helps me to stay more focused in the game.”
The Penguins have marched through the Eastern Conference with relative ease, posting an NHL-best 12-2 playoff record.
That was capped by a 6-0 drubbing of the Flyers on Sunday. However, it’s not as easy at it seems.
“It’s not that easy,” Talbot said. “It might have looked easy because it was 6-0, but we battled hard and so did they and I think it was good series overall.”
HOME SWEET HOME
Mellon Arena has been impenetrable for opposing teams in the past three months. The Penguins have won their last 16 games on home ice.
In the playoffs, the team is 8-0 on home ice – a franchise record for consecutive wins in one playoff year. The previous mark of six was set in 1992 as the Penguins won their last six home games of those playoffs en route to the Stanley Cup.
Overall, this Penguins squad has won 16-straight home games and is 17-0-2 in its last 19 home contests. The Penguins’ last home loss came nearly three months ago – Feb. 24 against San Jose in a shootout, 2-1.
“We knew what it took. We’ve done it before and we wanted to do it again at home. We did what we needed to do,” Talbot said. “Everybody played the system and played really well. The two goals in the first period were huge and we never looked back.
“Whoever we play next, we’re going to be ready. It’s nice to win the conference, but it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win it all. So, we’ll try to focus and recharge the battery and put some ice where it hurts and get ready for the Finals.”