PITTSBURGH — Mario Lemieux has asked a question to Sidney Crosby after he had overtaken on Wednesday night in the first rank of the markers of the history of the Penguins in the playoffs. “He asked me why it had been so long,” revealed Crosby laughing.
Lemieux also took care to remind his protégé that he had put in a lot less time than him to amass as much points : the captain of the Penguins now has 173 points in 152 games, while the old centre became the owner finished his career with 172 points in the series, in only 107 games.
The way things are going until now, all indications are that Crosby will have the chance to add points this spring, while the Penguins will have the chance on Friday (19h) to eliminate the Flyers to move to the second qualifying round for the fifth time in six years.
To explain this consistency, we note that, Pittsburgh has developed, since the arrival of Mike Sullivan at the helm of the team, in December 2015, a “killer instinct”. Under his leadership, the Penguins have a record of 8-5 when they have the chance to win a victory to put an end to a series. From 2010 to 2015, this record was 4-9, including two series of lost while leading 3-1.
In this regard, Sullivan preferred to give credit to his players. “This group is extremely competitive, and it goes with our star players.”
Gains in one direction
Another interesting statistic about this series between the great rivals of Pennsylvania : all four games have ended with a gap of at least four goals. “It is a little strange,” admits the centre of the Penguins ‘ Derick Brassard.
Also, fans of the Flyers have left the arena on Wednesday night calling for the firing of the coach Dave Hakstol. However, Philadelphia had replied to a debacle of 7-0 in the first match by winning the second 5-1. Then, Pittsburgh has regained control, with gains convincing 5-1 and 5-0.
The Flyers could count on the reinforcement valuable, then the chances are good that Sean Couturier is in uniform. The latter has missed the fourth match after being injured in colliding with teammate Radko Gudas in training on Tuesday.
That Couturier would be there or not, the Flyers will have to show a lot of determination, as they have done throughout the season, to win the series.
“They really played well, and we must do better from our side,” simply said the dig of the Flyers, Ron Hextall. “Guys have to not only play better individually, but more importantly, they need to regroup all together.”
For their part, the Penguins, even if they have done very badly for their rivals in the last two meetings, are aware that nothing is yet finished and that they still have a not to do to advance to the next step. “We know that this will not be easy,” said Crosby. “We must especially ensure to maintain the momentum that we have acquired and play in front of our fans, like we are capable of.”
Hammond into the fray
The Avalanche will have to trust the guard reservist Andrew Hammond (photo) to avoid elimination against the Predators on Friday (21: 30) in Nashville. Jonathan Bernier is injured at the bottom of the body during the 3-2 loss to Colorado, Wednesday, and Hammond has taken over at the beginning of the third period. Acquired in a transaction to three teams in November, which allowed the Senators to get the attacker’s Matt Duchene, the guardian of 30 years has pushed the eight shots directed to him at his first presence in the series since April 17, 2015, when he played for Ottawa. Bernier had started the series in the role of the guardian # 1 after that Semyon Varlamov is injured to a knee at the end of the month of march. In addition, the NHL has imposed a mandatory one-game suspension to Ryan Hartman (Predators) for an illegal move to the head of Carl Soderberg. AP
Subban, Doughty, and Hedman finalists for the Norris trophy
P. K. Subban (Nashville), Drew Doughty, (Los Angeles) and Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay) are the finalists for the Norris trophy given to the best defender in the NHL. Winner in 2013 in the uniform of the Canadian, Subban is a finalist for the third time in his career. The defender of 28 years has led the defensive unit the most prolific in the league, amassing 16 goals, a career high, and 59 points. He spent most of 1977 minutes on the ice. Doughty, who was awarded the Norris in 2016, led the NHL with a time-of-use average of 26:50 per game and helped the Kings to win the trophy, Jennings returned to the team having allowed the least goals in the season. He has also had a remarkable season to attack with a harvest of 60 points, a top personal. As for Hedman, he was a finalist for a second season in a row. The Finnish 27-year-old has led the defenders of the circuit with 17 goals, tied with Ivan Provorov (Philadelphia) and Dougie Hamilton (Calgary). The canadian Press
Lindgren in the World
A guardian of the Canadian will take part in the World of hockey in Denmark next month, but this is not one to which a little all the world would have thought. The American 24-year-old Charlie Lindgren will represent his country for the first time on the international stage. Carey Price had already indicated that he preferred to spend time with his family rather than to represent Canada in this tournament. Lindgren will be including as teammates the star players Patrick Kane, Dylan Larkin and Johnny Gaudreau. The United States will begin their tournament on may 4, the face of Canada. The canadian Press
A former agent becomes the boss
The Hurricanes of the Caroline have hired the ex-agent Paul Krepelka, who becomes the vice-president, operations hockey of the organization. It will in particular be responsible for negotiating contracts with the players. Ex-player of the minor leagues, Krepelka is a lawyer by training. It has been for 20 years agent of the players. Among his clients were the current center of Hurricanes Jordan Staal and his older brother Eric, the ex-captain of the team. Krepelka held the position of director of development of the players of the Admirals of Norfolk, of the american League. AP