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Insider Only Off-day report: Malkin and Fleury taking heat

  • The Pittsburgh Penguins went through a light optional skate this morning as the team will depart for Montreal this afternoon. Only 10 players skated as the rest of the players went through off-ice workouts.
  • A concern for Pittsburgh has been their struggles at home in the playoffs. The Penguins had a subpar record at home during the regular season against playoff caliber teams and in the playoffs the Penguins are now 2-3 at home. Now they hit the road where they are 3-0 this post-season.
  • With the series shifting to Montreal for games 3 and 4, the Canadiens are a confident team and believe the same strategy that worked against Washingon is working against Pittsburgh.
  • Two players taking a lot of heat in Penguins circles is goaltender Marc Andre Fleury and Evgeni Malkin. Putting the blame on Marc Andre Fleury for the Penguins game 2 loss is wrong. Pittsburgh only scored one goal but Fleury clearly has to be better and has yet to steal a game for Pittsburgh this post-season. Fleury has an .889 save percentage which ranks 15th overall for all goaltenders who have appeared in at least one game this post-season. All remaining starting goaltenders in the playoffs have a save percentage of .905 or higher.  Fleury though is looking to regain his form playing in front of family and friends in Montreal.
  • I hope that my family and friends will still cheer for my team, ” Fleury said with a laugh. “Everybody is such a big fan of the Canadiens, but everybody has been nice to me so far…. It should be interesting and fun to play there.”
  • The media coverage will be intense for the Penguins and most notably captain Sidney Crosby who appeared frustrated in game 2. Some have criticized Crosby for being so emotional which has led to him being regarded as a baby around the league but Bill Guerin see’s no problem in the emotion Crosby plays with. “I think that a lot of what happens with Sid is that he is so emotional, and he invests so much of himself into the game that sometimes he lets it show. I don’t see a problem in that. I think a lot of times people take it the wrong way, but inside our dressing room, we don’t. We know what it’s all about. We know why he’s doing that. It’s only for good reasons.”
  • Pressure is mounting on Evgeni Malkin to perform like one of the games best players. Malkin has 9 points through 7 games but a concern has been the lack of production at even strength. Malkin has 3 even strength points which ranks 25th among the top 30 players for playoff points.
  •  As of  2:00 p.m. a team source tells me the Penguins did not hear from the league about Craig Adams hit from behind on Marc Andre Bergeron. Colin Campbell is unpredictable as anybody in league offices but If Adams were to be suspended he would have heard from the league before the Penguins departed for Montreal.  
  • A concern from a member of the Penguins organization that I spoke to this morning is the lack of continuity in practice. Dan Bylsma has tried to hide his lineup in practices but there appears to be little point in trying to hide who Evgeni Malkin’s right wing is going to be and having Ruslan Fedotenko skate on the 5th for a full week of practice when the intention is to play him over Chris Conner.

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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