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Notes & Quotes: Unlucky Bounces

by Deborah Francisco / Pittsburgh Penguins
Thoughts, observations and comments from the Penguins' 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Unlucky Bounces
Pittsburgh played a strong game against its division rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins outshot the Flyers, 28-20, in the game and created several great scoring chances, however, the puck just didn’t bounce their way.

“They had a bounce that went their way and they won the game because of it,” Marc-Andre Fleury said. “I think we played better, we won more chances and they got a little bit lucky on the power play and they got the win because of it.”

Pittsburgh outplayed Philadelphia, but the team just couldn’t find the net.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t score enough goals and we had a lot of chances but the puck just didn’t go in the net,” Matt Cooke said. “They got two on the power play through lucky bounces and that’s going to happen on some nights. You have to bounce through it but we feel like we carried most of the play.”

“The win would have been nice,” Sidney Crosby said. “We played hard and they had some good bounces and goals but I thought we did a good job of carrying the play for most of the game. Unfortunately we couldn’t execute but that happens sometimes. They’re a good team and we’ll just move on.”

The Penguins went into the game expecting to meet a tough team, which is exactly what happened.

“They’re a good team and you count on them playing well which they did tonight,” interim head coach Dan Bylsma said. “We have to find ways to get our chances, bury our chances, and you have to stay on your game plan for 60 minutes. Hopefully that tilts it in your favor.”

Playoff Impression
The game pitted two teams battling for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference standings and a home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Philadelphia added some breathing room (88 points) at No. 4 with the victory but the No. 5 Penguins (86 points) could still potentially face the Flyers in the first round, which added a different kind of pressure to this game for both sides.

“You’re always trying to catch the teams in front of you," Cooke said. "They’re the ones who happen to be right in front of us so it’s very possible that they could be the match in the first round.

I think that it’s a scenario where you want to send a message, whether you win or you lose, you want to make sure that they know that it’s not going to be easy for them to win games and we’re not just going to roll over. I think that we accomplished that tonight. - Matt Cooke
“I think that it’s a scenario where you want to send a message, whether you win or you lose, you want to make sure that they know that it’s not going to be easy for them to win games and we’re not just going to roll over. I think that we accomplished that tonight.”

“If we meet them in the playoffs I think the guys will be confident because of the way we played tonight.” Fleury said. “I think that we will be in good shape.”

“This was a big game against a rival and with a (No. 4 vs. No. 5) setting with eight games left,” Bylsma said. “Clearly there are things to talk about and to report about but it’s about us getting to our game and figuring out our game. We’re still trying to get better at it and we have to take our lessons tonight and move on”

Biron’s Big Day
Philadelphia netminder Martin Biron was a brick wall in net. He made 27 saves to cause the Penguins first regulation loss in a month (way back on Feb 22.)

“You have to give Biron credit because he played a good game and he kept them in the game,” Sergei Gonchar said. ”He made key saves. I thought we were shooting pucks, maybe not enough, but we had good chances.”

From one goalie to another, Fleury was impressed with Biron’s efforts in the tight game.

'He is a great goalie and he had a great game tonight and made some great saves and that’s one of the reasons why they didn’t let this one go,” Fleury said.

“They played good and Biron play very well,” Evgeni Malkin added. “Good high shots and they played good."

“We played (Biron) well," Crosby said. "We probably had two or three really good chances to score and he made some big saves."

Puzzling Over Power Play

The Penguins have netted power-play points in its past four games, but was unable to convert on a few power-play chances early on in this game that could have given them the edge over the Flyers.

“They got two and we got one today on the power play,” Sergei Gonchar said. “We are going to have to work on our power play and continue to work on it. Sometimes you have to look at it and puzzle about it because that is where the result of the game is.”

Pittsburgh's lone goal in the game came on Kris Letang's power-play goal. The Penguins found some success on the power play but the general consensus is that the team can find even more success in that area.

“We had some power-play opportunities,” Crosby said. “We got one there in the third to get ourselves back in this game, but we still can improve in that area. For them, that’s the difference in that game, they got two on the power play even with a good bounce there, but that can make a big difference for your team.”

Bylsma felt that the game came down to special teams:

“We played a good team tonight. It came to the power play and they won the power play, the special teams part of the game, which is a big factor. Early on, our power play was not clicking and we got away from the things that we were talking about doing. Any time the power play doesn’t work, there is a tendency for frustration to build when you need a goal and you need to respond and that frustration distracts you from what you need to do on the ice."

Still Improving
It was a close game that could have gone either way. The Penguins will take the loss and learn from it.

“I don’t think we change much (after a game like this),” Crosby said. “I think we would like to get a little bit more generated on the power play but I think for the most part we weren’t weak really. We just want to make sure we stay out of the box and give ourselves a chance to keep gaining momentum. But besides that I thought we did a good job today on the five-on-five.”

“There are positives we will draw on and we will work on and talk about the things that we didn’t do as well," Bylsma said. "I think that’s the gist of every game and every day in your life. You evaluate, you see what you did well, you try to do it again, you try to duplicate it as much as you can. Sometimes a loss gets you focused a little bit more. I liked our game tonight and we’re going to go back to the drawing board and we’re going to get better. We’re going to improve and we’re going to come back Wednesday (against Calgary).”

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