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Crosby pots hat trick as Penguins crush Flyers to take Game 1

12 April 2018

I think this combination makes the Flyer's blue line more dynamic than that of the Pens and could be the key to a first-round win for Philly. And the Penguins will bury a team that turns the puck over to its forwards. Is a rivalry still a rivalry in a league that has made a concerted effort against over-the-top hits and where fighting is truly a rare sight?

Aside from the absurd rate in which both teams found the back of the net, three Penguins players received suspensions for extracurricular activities, then head coach Dan Bylsma was fined $10,000, and Claude Giroux was deemed ready to take over Sidney Crosby's spot as top player in the world. Ha. He scored 97 points this year and garnered Hart Trophy consideration. Both teams aren't deep offensively and they are going to have to rely on their depth scoring and defense to step up. Colorado tied with Arizona with the youngest roster at 25.8 years old. Laughton, goal-less in his last 22 games of the regular season, fanned on his first shot, and Murray made a great save after the Flyers' left winger gathered the puck and got off a point-blank shot.

The Flyers failed to score on a late power play in an attempt to crawl back in as the Penguins carried a 3-0 lead to the first intermission.

This could be the most intense Winnipeg whiteout we've ever witnessed.

Here is the first of our daily playoff power ratings.

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So bring it on, Bruins, Lightning, Penguins, Jets, and whoever else the Stanley Cup throws our way. The good news, however, is that two of those games were dragged into overtime - and the Flyers played their best in the two games in Pittsburgh, where this series will begin. Vegas does have players with playoff experience - Marc-Andre Fleury, Erik Haula, James Neal, David Perron, just to name a few.

The Flyers were able to survive an abbreviated power play for Pittsburgh and end up with 1:12 of power play time of their own. The former Selke victor, when paired with Dustin Brown, outscored opponents 42 to 22 over 800 even-strength minutes with 53 percent of all high-danger scoring chances taken going in the Kings' favor. This is Taylor Hall's and Nico Hischier's first crack at it, but veterans like Michael Grabner, Patrick Maroon, and Brian Boyle will help out the cause because they have been there before.

The Ducks core won a Stanley Cup recently, albeit Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are the only two that remain from that cup winning squad. Anaheim has won a Stanley Cup, so they know what it takes to get the job done. Our simulation previous year got pretty close to predicting the Stanley Cup Finals between Nashville and Pittsburgh.

San Jose is another aging team trying to capture the ultimate prize. They will have goaltending issues to start the series because will it be Philipp Grubauer or Braden Holtby between the pipes?

Jumbo Joe hasn't played since January, and the Sharks are 19-13-3 without him. Grubauer started 10 of the final 16 games of the regular season and he went 7-3-0 with a 2.32 goals-against average and.925 save percentage.

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The Leafs put together the best season in franchise history, and that was without Auston Matthews for 20 games.

The total has gone over in nine of Philadelphia's last 12 games. Boston finished with the second-best record in the East, while Toronto had the fourth.

The Predators have the Presidents' Trophy, and the NHL-expansion Golden Knights carry the buzz entering the Western Conference playoffs, which have the potential of resembling nothing from the past. Maybe next year, they say.

Philadelphia didn't give up and kept attacking early in the third, eventually drawing a penalty on Kris Letang for slashing Travis Konecny.

Matt Murray collected his third straight playoff shutout dating back to last year's Stanley Cup Final, and he now has a playoff scoreless streak of 206:26. Sidney Crosby's team has won the past two Stanley Cups and have their eyes on a three-peat.

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In Philadelphia, goalie Petr Mrazek held the fort in going 6-6-4 in place of injured starter Brian Elliott.

Crosby pots hat trick as Penguins crush Flyers to take Game 1