Penguins rout Flyers in opener

Even though the NHL claims that fighting is down amongst players games can get really punchy really quick. Especially with the playoffs set to begin emotions high and rivalries in full swing

Even though the NHL claims that fighting is down amongst players games can get really punchy really quick. Especially with the playoffs set to begin emotions high and rivalries in full swing

Led by Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to become the first team to win three straight Stanley Cup championships since that dynastic New York Islanders team at the start of the 1980s.

That may be the most frightening aspect going forward for the Flyers and the other 14 teams hoping to end Pittsburgh's run at history. In the four games between the two teams, the Penguins scored five power play goals on just 13 opportunities (38.5 percent). Pittsburgh' goaltender Matt Murray will need to return to playoff form as he has in the past, if the Penguins want another chance at the Cup.

"This is a record setting year for us as National Hockey League handle", Las Vegas Superbook's Jay Kornegay said Wednesday morning.

I do think the Sharks' slightly better offense combined with their impressive penalty kill percentage will lead them to victory in what will likely be a seven-game series.

In the Penguins' way to start things off are the Philadelphia Flyers, who clinched a playoff berth on the final day of the regular season.

The reason it is such a debate is because the Flyers are once again in a position without a clear-cut No. 1 starter with Elliott, Michael Neurvith, and Mrazek all splitting the time this season, and all providing equal levels of mediocre play. He got yanked at the 9:01 mark of the middle stanza after allowing five goals on 19 shots.

Philadelphia returned to the playoffs this spring thanks in part to its resilience. Joe Morrow notched the eventual game-winner at 12:47 of the third to give Winnipeg the historic win.

"We had holes to fill this year and we filled them with guys that aren't as high-profile, but are just steady, and provided the things we needed for our team", Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said.

In the rest of the Eastern Conference, we have the ridiculous Tampa Bay Lightning, propelled completely by their insane offensive firepower; they scored 17 more goals than any team this season. Malkin (99 points) is up to 43 goals and 56 assists and has recorded two or more points 26 times this year. Good luck with that.

The 2012 series wasn't short on moments, and probably the most memorable is how Game 6 began.

The Flyers have a number of rookies and players making their playoff debut in the lineup for Game 1. If the Jets can do it twice in three days, they'll have firm control against sloppy Minnesota. The defending Western Conference champion Predators won the Presidents' Trophy, and the Golden Knights (Pacific), and Capitals (Metropolitan) also finished first in their divisions. The Wild understand they need to be smarter in their own end.

"They kind of did everything that we focused on in the prescout, they just did it really well", Elliott said.

The Kings will look to even out the series in Game 2 on Friday. Murray stopped both shots and the good defensive play soon translated into a 4-0 Pittsburgh lead when Guentzel connected on the power play.

The young Jets feel likewise. Last year, they were the Predators. "We had a lot of energy built off that". As a series gets longer, teams tweak their game plans and players follow suit. He's still recovering from its effects, even as he's coming off an embarrassing Game 1 playoff loss to the Penguins and is preliminarily slated to start Game 2 Friday night.

Will Game 2 follow the same script? Outside T-Mobile Arena in Toshiba Plaza, fans could get real or fake tattoos of the Golden Knights logo, or get their hair cut with a "V" design, while there was also a concert put on by Logic.

"I thought it was a bad hit, but it's not for me to decide", Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said.

The Kings outhit Vegas 68-59, though some Los Angeles players scoffed at the notion Game 1 was an overly physical.

So, maybe I should re-think my superstition? Nah. Those of you who remember what channel CNBC is on DirecTV are invited to email me that information.

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