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Insider Only Game 5 Fallout: Pens have made it a series again, behind dominant play of Fleury and Staal

Pens force Game 6

PITTSBURGH — Marc Andre Fleury has suddenly found his game, playing his best playoff hockey since the 2009 playoffs and the Pittsburgh Penguins playoff hopes remain alive, forcing a Game 6 with a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.
Game 6 is Sunday at 12:00 p.m.
“He {Marc Andre Fleury} won them the game, plain and simple, ” Flyers winger Scott Hartnell said.
Holding a 3-2 lead, Fleury was brilliant in the third period, and put on a show during a penalty kill that started at the 7:37 mark of the third period on a Tyler Kennedy slashing penalty.
“Our penalty kill is going to have to win us a game, ” head coach Dan Bylsma said prior to Game 5 and despite giving up two power play goals, the penalty kill stepped up in crunch time Friday night.
Fleury turned aside seven Flyer shots on the power play, including several great chances to preserve Pittsburgh’s 3-2 lead. “The PK was big for us, ” Marc Andre Fleury said.
“Our team was good, but Marc Andre was at his best, ” Bylsma said. “He stood strong, made the big save, but also stood strong whether traffic was in front of the net, loose pucks and rebounds. He played really hard and really strong there in the crease.”
“We couldn’t get it past their goaltender, ” Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette said.
Fleury has suddenly seen his goals against average drop from the mid-6’s to 4.70, after surrendering just two goals in his last 100 minutes of play.
Overall, Fleury stopped 24 of 26 shots in the win.
“Fleury was on and he made some huge ones, ” captain Sidney Crosby said. “It was definitely the difference in the game. It’s the time of year when you need those and he came up big for us, ” he said.
STAAL’S DOMINANT PLAY

While Marc Andre Fleury was clearly the top storyline out of Game 5, Jordan Staal’s dominant play can’t be overlooked.
Staal scored his playoff leading 6th goal of the series in the second period off a 2-on-1 rush on a type of goal Staal has become extremely dangerous at, coming down the right side and using his eyes very well, looking off Bryzgalov by looking left like he’s going to dish the puck over, only to fire a shot top shelf/glove side past Bryzgalov to tie the game at 2-2. Staal scored a very similar goal against Anaheim in February.
Staal was a huge factor in the win, and then setup Tyler Kennedy for the game winner, 3:38 later.
After a two point night, Staal leads the Penguins with 6 goals and 9 points in the playoffs, tied for the team lead with a plus-4 raring.
Overall, Staal ranks 2nd in NHL playoffs in points (9), 1st in goals (6) and 1st in Even Strength points (8).
RENEWED CONFIDENCE DEFENSIVELY
The feeling inside the Penguins locker room Friday morning was that holding the Flyers to no goals in the final forty minutes of Game 4 was huge for the Penguins mentally.
It showed in Game 5, where the Penguins were much more responsible defensively. “Our defense made hard and good plays. We finally got what looks like a playoff game a little more tonight, ” Bylsma said on Game 5.
The Penguins dressed seven defensemen for the second straight game, improving to 8-2 all-time under head coach Dan Bylsma when he dresses seven D.
Bylsma evened out Simon Despres and Brian Strait’s ice time, using Strait more in defensive situations. Strait had 8:00 of ice time and 1 blocked shot, including 7:44 of ice time at even strength. Despres saw 5:33 of ice time, 4:44 at even strength and 49 seconds on the second power play unit.
Brooks Orpik led all defensemen and Penguins with 26:08 of ice time.
5-ON-5 PLAY
The Penguins came into the game with a plus-4 advantage at even strength with 13 goals and 9 goals against. They increased that advantage Friday night, scoring twice at even strength and holding the Flyers scoreless at even strength.
Pittsburgh has outplayed Philadelphia at even strength and the Penguins have now outscored Philadelphia 15-9 during 5-on-5 play. It’s become a cause of concern for the Flyers if the refs are to let a lot of things go in Game 6.
BRYZGALOV PERFORMS WELL IN LOSS
As the series showed some normalcy last night, a positive sign for the Flyers was the play of Ilya Bryzgalov who made 20 saves on 23 shots. An .870 save percentage doesn’t look good but Bryzgalov took a step in the right direction for Philadelphia who return home with a third chance to close out the series.
“We’ve got to find a way to get that fourth one, ” forward Claude Giroux said who was slamming his stick when the buzzer went off. “It’s probably the hardest game to win. “We’ve just got to get it done.”

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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