After dispatching of the Flyers in 6 games (like I said), the Pens are waiting to see who their second round opponent will be. While being idle for a few days, the team stayed in the news today by removing the interim label on head coach Dan Bylsma. Was this the right move ? Absolutely. Is the timing right? Absolutely.
All Bylsma has done is take a team that was dead in the water and lead them to the second round of the playoffs. If the coaching change wasn't made, the Pens very well could have missed the playoffs all together. His very impressive record of 22-5-4 (including playoffs) should be all the convincing the Pens needed to offer him the full-time job.
However, what if the Pens blew the 3-1 series lead to the Flyers? It's very odd to see a coach make lineup changes with a commanding series lead. If everything backfired and the Pens would have dropped the series, do you think the Pens would have given him the job?
- Defensemen Sergei Gonchar is second among all players in the playoff in ice time per game. His injury may have been a blessing as his legs should be very fresh.
- Don't overlook the job that Sidney Crosby did in the face off circle against the Flyers. Winning nearly 64% of his draws, Crosby has shown just how much he has worked on every aspect of his already dominant game.
- Evgeni Malkin leads the team in scoring with 9pts, followed by Crosby with 8 and Gonchar with 5.
- One guy that won't get talked about enough is Tyler Kennedy. I thought he played much better than the 3 pts he accumulated. Kennedy also had 2 game winning goals in the series.
-Finally, talk all the trash on him that you want, but the reason the Pens are advancing is the play of Marc-Andre Fluery. Outside of game 5 he was tremendous. After the 3 goals in game 6, if Fluery doesn't shut the door, the Pens probably lose the game.