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Adams responds in face-off

| Thursday, April 23, 2009


The Penguins relied on Craig Adams' Stanley Cup-winning experience when leading, 2-1, with just over a minute to play in Game 4, sending him onto the ice on a line with Jordan Staal and Max Talbot for a defensive-zone face-off.

Adams responded by helping to clear the zone and ultimately assisting on Talbot's empty-net goal in the Pens' 3-1 triumph Tuesday night.

"It's fun," Adams said. "It's stressful, but those are positions you want to be in. That's why you play.

"You know, basically, they're trying to get the puck to the net. You want to protect the net. And then if you get the puck on your stick, there's a fine line between being safe with it and also making a play if it's there. I saw Max was there. I tried to get it to him. Luckily, it worked out."

The assist was Adams' first point of a series that has seen him play 9:34, 9:17, 10:19 and 9:45 per game over the first four games.

He also might have had his first goal of the series in Game 4, but Adams opted not to take a shot at a subsequent empty net.

"The puck was kind of spinning on me a little bit," he said. "I couldn't get it to sit down. I didn't want to take a bad shot and have a guy block it and go the other way with it.

"I figured if I wasn't sure I better just hang onto it."


After saving the day in Game 2, the Penguins' power play has sputtered again.

The power play went 1 for 7 and surrendered a short-handed goal in the Penguins' 6-3 loss in Game 3, and then 0 for 5 in Game 4.

The Pens were credited with four shots on their five power plays in Game 4, not counting the crossbar Sidney Crosby hit early in the third period.

"You always have to remember the penalty kills for the other team are trying," Bill Guerin said. "They're working hard. They're doing the right things, as well, and (the Flyers) have done a good job. Their penalty killing has been excellent, but we have to find a way to figure that out and maybe simplify our power play a little bit and get back to shooting pucks and getting pucks to the net a little more often.

"To me, it's all puck movement if a team's aggressive (killing penalties). You have to keep the puck moving. The more you hold onto it the more you let everybody get into that position and get ready to strike. You're playing into their hands. Nobody can move faster than the puck. To me, a couple of quick passes and shots are important."

The Penguins' power play ranked sixth among NHL playoff teams at 16 percent (4 for 25) prior to Wednesday night's games.

No doubt about it

Flyers coach John Stevens questioned the legality of Crosby's game-opening goal in Game 4, but Crosby said yesterday he wasn't exactly sweating the subsequent replay review. "I was watching the puck," Crosby said. "I don't remember being pushed or how I even fell, whether I was trying to stop. But it wasn't a concern at all. I was pretty much positive it was going to be a goal. I didn't really have too much contact with (Flyers goalie Martin Biron). And the puck hit my stick, I knew that. It was no big issue, I thought." Stevens had assessed the bang-bang play in the slot as it related to the Flyers lack of success in close against Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury as follows: "We didn't put the puck at our feet and throw ourselves in the net, which apparently is allowed now."


Tyler Kennedy's goal in Game 4, his second of the playoffs, resulted from a deft forehand-to-backhand move in the slot, one that required presence and patience to execute.

"I didn't really have a strong handle on it," Kennedy said of a cross-ice pass from Matt Cooke. "I just kind of calmed down and went to my backhand. Last year, I probably would have just tried to fire it on net. This year, I'm trying to take a little more time and trying to get good shots on net, high-quality shots." Kennedy didn't score a goal in 20 playoff games last spring. "Last year was quite a drought," he said. "I want to contribute whenever I can. I'm trying to do that this year by scoring goals and creating offense and playing a solid game."

Fleury of activity

The Flyers may not have thrown themselves in the net, as Stevens pointed out, but they definitely familiarized themselves with Fleury repeatedly from in close in Game 4, Joffrey Lupul, Scott Hartnell, Mike Knuble and Matt Carle in particular. Fleury's helmet was knocked off at one point. "A couple times, I was on my bum in the back of the net," Fleury said. "I think I'll see a lot of them throughout the playoff (series), I know they'll be coming. There were a few of them (Tuesday night) coming by and saying 'hi' from pretty close, but it was fine, it didn't hurt or anything."

The white stuff

The Penguins are calling for a "Whiteout" for Game 5 tonight. Each fan entering the game will receive a white T-shirt, courtesy of StarKist Co. Fans also will receive white rally towels courtesy of Trib Total Media. Fans not attending the game can view it on the big screen provided by the Penguins' corporate partners Trib Total Media and Consol Energy. For safety reasons, no grills or tents are permitted in the Gate 3 viewing area. Alcohol is also prohibited.


The Penguins had eight players participate in yesterday's optional practice at Mellon Arena, forwards Pascal Dupuis, Talbot, Adams, Eric Godard, Kennedy and Miroslav Satan, defenseman Philippe Boucher, and goaltender Mathieu Garon.

Godard, Satan and Boucher haven't dressed in the Philadelphia series.

Garon hasn't played against the Flyers in the postseason.

Assistant coaches Mike Yeo, Tom Fitzgerald and Gilles Meloche also took to the ice.

Talk the talk

"Definitely up there. You rely on everybody at one point in time or another in the playoffs. (Tuesday) night was Flower's night, and we can honestly say he stole that one for us. That's what you ask of your goaltender in the playoffs and that's what you need. Sometimes, you win on someone's individual effort, and that's what we got (Tuesday) night." Penguins forward Bill Guerin, on the play of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury during Tuesday's 3-1 victory.

-- Tricia Lafferty

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