Tidbits and Take-A-Ways from Game 4 by @MedinaMarie_PI - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Tidbits and Take-A-Ways from Game 4 by @MedinaMarie_PI

(Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated)
The Pittsburgh Penguins now hold a commanding three games to one advantage over the Philadelphia Flyers in their first round playoff match up. The Pens have turned their backs on the "oof" that was Game 2 and set their sights to finishing out the series this Friday at home at PPG Paints Arena.

While the Pens have all but taken control of their last two outings against their cross state rivals, there were some tidbits coming out of Game 4 that are worth noting.

First of all, forward Conor Sheary had the most shot attempts on Flyers goalies of any of his fellow players with five. Quality attempts at that. Sheary has played up and down the line up in recent weeks with varying results. He has not had the season that had been hoped for but his current uptick in offense is promising. The fact that Sheary was able to get five shots off leads me to my next observation.

Next: It was during Game 4 was really the first time in the series the Pens were able to really roll all four lines. Each line factored in offensively whether is was shot getting shots at the net, assists, or cashing in behind one of the two goaltenders the Flyers once again had to employ. Every line was beneficial at some point during the sixty minutes of play. Even during the over two minute stint when the Flyers had the Penguin pinned in their own end, the Pens gave no quarter and ended up forcing a turnover that lead to a Phil Kessel goal.

Thirdly, and without putting to fine a point on it, I would say the Flyers are (about) one period away from a full team breakdown. The Penguins defense and aggressive fore check has worn down the Flyers enough to wear if they do not respond in some fashion during the first period/ period and a half of Game 5, the frustration will inevitably boil over. The head (and sometimes questionable) hits have already started and, it is this bloggers fear, that the utter embarrassment and anguish will build up to the point where the old Flyers mindset of "If you can't beat them, break them," will set in.

Let's hope cooler heads prevail and the Penguins are able to remove themselves from any goon-ish behaviors that may and could ensue.

Finally, one of the more concerning aspects of Game 4 was the play of Bryan Rust. Although he played his most minutes of the series (15:11), he recorded nothing offensively. In Game 3, Rust recorded just one shot on goal and previously in game 2, he was perched on the pine pony for most of the second and third periods, recording only 17 shifts. He has also had his share of penalties. He has a total of only six shots on goal throughout the entire series thus far which is more than say, Olli Maatta (3) or Tom Kuhnackl, however, it does seem rather low factoring his usual "get to the net" mentality.  While he scored the first goal of this playoff series, this has by far been Rust's worst. I have no doubt that this slump is temporary and he will snap himself out of it.

Other Notes:
  • The Penguins have currently outshot the Flyers 124-97
  • The Flyers four main offensive threats of C. Giroux, T. Konecny, N. Patrick and J. Voracek currently  have six combined points in the series through four games. Penguins defensemen B. Dumoulin currently has five points by himself. Yes, that Dumoulin, who only had six points total in the 2016-17 playoff/ Stanley Cup run. 
  • J. Schultz and P. Hornqvist (who did not play in game 4 due to injury) are tied for the team lead in shots so far with 12.

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