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Crosby makes case for Penguins' fans

Flyers coach John Stevens, not surprisingly, believes Flyers fans are more passionate than Penguins fans and said as much after the morning skate Tuesday.

Imagine the local reaction if he'd said otherwise.

Penguins center Sidney Crosby was asked how Pittsburgh fans might respond Thursday to Stevens' assertion in Game 5.

"I'm sure they'll answer," he said. "I'm not worried about that."

About 2,000 available tickets for Game 5 at Mellon Arena were sold yesterday morning in a matter of minutes, a Penguins spokesperson said.

Power hour

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation planned to air the first hour of Game 4 between the Penguins and Flyers last night before switching to Game 4 of Vancouver-St. Louis at 8 p.m. Hockey fans in Canada faced watching the rest of Penguins-Flyers on the CBC Web site.

Scratch that

Right wings Eric Godard and Miroslav Satan joined defenseman Philippe Boucher as Penguins' scratches. The Flyers did not dress left wing Riley Cote and defenseman Luca Sbisa.

Mega start

Interim Penguins coach Dan Bylsma opted to unite his star centers, Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, on a line with left wing Ruslan Fedotneko to open the game. It marked the first time this series that Crosby and Malkin started a game on the same line. After the shift, Malkin and Crosby returned to anchoring their own lines.

Book of Daniel

In the past four years, Flyers agitator Daniel Carcillo has played for several coaches, including Michel Therrien (head coach at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton when Carcillo was there), Wayne Gretzky (Phoenix Coyotes coach) and Dan Bylsma (assistant, Wilkes-Barre, under Todd Richards).

Carcillo's quick takes on all three:

On Therrien: "He was awesome, system-wise, and the way he ran practices."

On Gretzky: "A tireless worker who wants to win really badly."

On Bylsma: "Pretty funny in the room, always running around and doing crazy things to get the boys fired up. He's an energy guy."

Memories

Every time Penguins general manager Ray Shero goes to Wachovia Center, he sees the old Philly Spectrum, which sits mostly unused in the same parking lot and has a sign on it that says, "Celebrate the Memories!"

The Spectrum was like a second childhood home to Shero, son of late Flyers coach Fred Shero.

"I still have friends in town, on (the Flyers') training staff, front-office staff, going back a long time," Shero said. "I think I got most of it out of my system in last year's playoff series, though. Now, it's, 'We're the Penguins, and they're the Flyers,' and it makes for a great series."

Book of Daniel II

Carcillo began his pro career with the Penguins, who drafted him 73rd overall in 2003. He still counts Wilkes-Barre/Scranton left wing Paul Bissonnette as a close friend.

Carcillo led the NHL in penalty minutes by a whopping 58 minutes this season but wasn't happy with his total of three goals or his minus-15 rating. He still believes he'll make good on Gretzky's prediction that he will someday score 30 goals. Certainly, he's aiming for more than three.

"If I can take off about 100 penalty minutes, I think I'll produce more offensively," Carcillo said. "I'm not going to be just a one-dimensional, fourth-line guy."

Quotable

• Penguins D Hal Gill, on Flyers fans: "They're on the edge of cleanliness, I would say. It's crazy. You just hope your kids don't use some of the language you hear."

Digits

2 — The Flyers have two wins overall at Mellon Arena over the past two seasons and are 0-5 in Stanley Cup playoff games in Western Pennsylvania over that span. That includes the March 22 loss at Mellon, 3-1.

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