NHL Playoffs 2012: 3 Keys to Flyers Stopping Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin
Through three games so far in this series, the Flyers have just shredded the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nothing the Penguins have done seems to work; the Flyers outclass them in every category.
Most specifically, the Flyers have forced Sidney Crosby into a myriad of antics worthy of a toddler. Sorry, Sid but the league can't give you the cup, you have to go and outplay teams.
Evgeni Malkin probably has an all points bulletin out on him by the Pittsburgh Police Department at this point. Is he even playing? Upon reviewing his game log yes, he is, but he's being schooled by a 19-year-old.
These two stars are some of the best players in the world—maybe the No. 1 and 2 best. However, their cross-state-rivals have done what few teams were able to do in the past—shut them down.
Looking at the stat line, Crosby has two goals and three assists, while Malkin has four assists to his credit. But this is a wide open series.
As good as the Flyers defense is, the Penguins have still managed to spread it out and get some quality chances.
Yesterday, Ilya Bryzgalov felt generous and donated some goals to the Penguins. His previous performances in this series have been much better despite the score sheets.
Yet the dynamic duo of Malkin and Crosby has been outperformed by the rival Flyers.
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The Philadelphia Flyer version of the Bash Brothers has kept Crosby's opportunities limited.
Crosby has only five shots so far in this series. If Pittsburgh is to somehow come back and win this series, they will need Crosby to literally take over the games.
The addition of Nicklas Grossmann—a trade I wrote earlier that the Flyers needed to make—has paid off immensely.
Without him, this could be a different series.
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The Philadelphia Flyers are literally camped out in the heads of the Pittsburgh Penguins. They also have Kumbaya playing at full blast.
Sidney Crosby is the Penguins captain, and if you don't consider what he did classless throughout the game, then you might want to take a class on general etiquette.
A captain is supposed to set an example. The example Crosby has set is for his team to take dumb penalties.
This has played right into the Flyers hands, thus a three games to none lead in the series.
Sean Couturier and Max Talbot
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When Max Talbot came over to the Flyers via free agency, the Penguins and their fans probably felt like he was expendable. Nobody seemed too upset about his departure.
I guess they realized how bad they messed up there. Talbot has been an integral part of not only keeping the big two off the scoreboard but also lighting the lamp.
Talbot has three goals in this series. Oh, and if you thought he was replaced by Joe Vitale, I have news for you: Vitale was a healthy scratch yesterday.
Sean Couturier has become the steal of the draft this season. His playoff performance thus far speaks volumes to the potential this young man has ahead of him.
Evgeni Malkin cannot shake free from him. Malkin has managed 10 shots this series, but they have been rushed with little space for the most part thanks to the defensive effort of Couturier.
Fortunately, Ilya Bryzgalov has had answers for those opportunities.