The Pittsburgh-Philadelphia series was almost preordained for the Penguins. There was just a little too much of everything; too much Crosby, too much Malkin, too much Malone, too much Sykora, too much Hossa and on and on it goes. But one of the guys that often gets overlooked for the Penguins, because they have so much up front, is goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
Now there's no question that this was Pittsburgh's game, almost from start to finish but, early in the second period, Pittsburgh was up 2-0 and Fleury came up with, not one, but two great saves. The second one came from very close in.
If Fleury lets one of those in, it's a 2-1 game and maybe the dynamic changes a little bit. Less than five minutes later, Hossa came back the other way and scored to put the Penguins up 3-0 and as they say – the rest is history.
The Penguins have done a great job protecting leads. They've got a defensive shell that's become very good when they want to protect things, they've got the goaltending at timely moments and to go with all those other factors, it's ordained.
The one thing I really like about Pittsburgh is when they've had the opportunity to close people out, they close them out.
Back in the Series
The Detroit Red Wings have let the Dallas Stars back into it. When the Stars had the opportunity to close out the San Jose Sharks in rather easy fashion, they didn't close it out. So maybe that killer instinct belongs more to the Penguins than anyone else.
But I still like the experience factor of the teams left in the Western Conference and when I say experience factor, I mean the failure factor. The guys have lost so many series over the years, they've got this hunger and I'm not sure the Penguins are old enough to realize the position they're in.
For TSN.ca, I'm Bob McKenzie