Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pens Insider: A win five years in the making

The Penguins advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in the past six seasons. It also marks the first time the Penguins clinched a series victory at Consol Energy Center. The Penguins hadn’t closed out a series on home ice since they defeated the Flyers 6-0 in Game 5 of the 2008 Eastern Conference finals at Mellon Arena.
* It’s the seventh series that the Penguins have won under head coach Dan Bylsma.
* The Penguins scored the first goal for the seventh time this postseason. They are 5-2 when doing so. They’ve also scored a league-leading 16 first-period goals.
* The Penguins pushed their all-time record in Game 5 to 23-19, including 16-7 at home. They have now won four of their past five -- all on home ice.
* The Penguins have scored three-or-more goals in nine straight playoff home games. During that span they have totaled 37 goals and have averaged 4.11 per game.
* Pittsburgh has now scored at least one power-play goal in each of its last eight home games. The power-play is 14-44 (31.8 percent), making it the top unit in the NHL. They are 6-1 when they score a power-play goal.
* The penalty kill has also been effective. The Penguins have now killed off 36 of 39 (92.3 percent) during the postseason, ranking third overall.
* The Senators are now 0-6 all-time in series when they trail 3-1. Ottawa fell to 2-1 all-time in Game 5 against the Penguins.
* C Sidney Crosby was spectacular in the faceoff circle, winning 68 percent (21-of-31) of his draws. He also picked up an assist and put five shots on goal.
* LW Jussi Jokinen was equally impressive in the circle, winning 64 percent (9-of-14) of his draws. He also registered a plus-2.
* LW Matt Cooke extended his scoring streak to three games with an assist on the Penguins’ opening goal. He has logged three assists over that span.
* RW Tyler Kennedy extended his scoring streak to a postseason career-high three games by collecting an assist on D Kris Letang’s second-period goal. Kennedy has notched three points (one goal) over that span and now has 14 points (seven goals) in his last 18 playoff games.
* D Kris Letang picked up three points (one goal) to pass Martin Straka for eighth place on the Penguins’ all-time postseason scoring list with 47 points. His nine assists in Round 2 leads all NHL players.
* RW James Neal picked up four points, including his first career postseason hat trick. It was also the first time that he has scored goals in back-to-back playoff games. The goals were Neal’s first at home during his tenure with the Penguins. He now has 10 points, eight over his last two-games, which establishes a career high for the sniper.
* G Tomas Vokoun made 29 saves in the victory, while his counterpart Craig Anderson stopped just 27-of-33 in the loss.
* C Kyle Turris was a bright spot for the Senators, picking up two points (one goal), taking four shots on goal, registering a plus-one and winning 65 percent of his faceoffs.
* Daniel Alfredsson, who saw his three-game scoring streak snapped in the loss, said he‘s still undecided on retirement. He has picked up four points (two goals) over that span.
* LW Milan Michalek extended his scoring streak to three games, picking up three points (two goals) over that span.
* The Penguins pushed their sellout streak to 284 straight games with 18,656 in attendance. The latest sellout also pushed them over the 5-million mark (5,016,129) in terms of overall attendance during the streak that began on Feb. 14, 2007.
Brenden Morrow, who was uncertain to play in Game 5 after missing the previous game with an undisclosed injury, found the back of the net a little over six minutes in. Matt Cooke, skating down the right side, briefly lost control of the puck but was able to corral it and slide a cross-ice pass to Mark Eaton. The veteran defenseman made a strong pass toward the right post where Morrow was driving to the net. The puck hit Morrow in the skate but the goal was upheld after a brief review. It was Morrow's second of the postseason and, in effect, opened the floodgates.  
8: The number of power-play points that Kris Letang has picked up in 11 postseason games this spring. He had just 13 over 35 games during the regular season.
7: The number of goals that RW Pascal Dupuis has scored in 11 postseason games this spring AND the number of goals that Dupuis had scored in his first 62 postseason games with the Penguins.
“That was a smile for a lot of things. Mainly just feeling the emotions that we’re going to win and the series is going to be done, was the biggest thing. Anytime you score, it feels good, but doing it in front of the home crowd and getting this win was special.”
James Neal on his emotions after he scored his third goal in the victory over the Senators.
1. James Neal, Pgh
2. Kris Letang, Pgh
3. Evgeni Malkin, Pgh

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