I hope that the Penguins management team had a close eye on the Flyer-Devils series. The Devils put on a clinic as to how to win a playoff series. First and foremost, play hard every shift. The Penguins most certainly did NOT do that. Next is play with a strong defensive posture – know what man you are responsible for and pressure him everywhere on the ice. The Flyer players skated around the ice with ease against the Pens. Continuous solid goaltending is also vital to playoff success. Fleury did NOT provide it for the Penguins.
Coaching also plays such a significant role during playoffs. Matching lines and making tactical adjustments are necessary when playing in a series. Dan Bylsma and staff’s inability to find a way to stop the Flyers’ power play was inexcusable. The Devils watched and found a way to do it. Back to the key word ‘pressure’ – In an interview with Bryce Salvadore after the Devils beat the Flyers four straight he said the following – They watched the Flyers skate freely around the Pens and they were not going to let that happen to them.
Will the Pens be able to win the Stanley Cup again? With the offensive firepower that they have, the answer should be yes. Goals are hard to come by in the playoffs. They do not need as many chances as their opponents to score. But they do desperately need a revamped power play. If the Pens were to play like the Devils did versus the Flyers, another championship run can be achieved.
As a side note to the series, it was enjoyable to watch Jagr do nothing versus the Devils. He looked 40. It was also enjoyable to see the Flyers lose Game 5 in Philly with ‘The Best Player in the World’ in the press box. Too bad he lost his composure in Game 4. The Devils knew NOT to get close to Briere. He is hands down the best in the league at taking dives and NOT getting penalized for them.