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Bylsma finds opportunity with Malkin, Flyers

| Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dan Dandies

• Interim head coach Dan Bylsma made some key decisions Friday that contributed to the Penguins twice coming from behind and ultimately winning Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2, in overtime. Bylsma skated Cs Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on a line with RW Bill Guerin late in the second period, and Guerin responded with the goal that tied the score, 1-1, off assists from Malkin and Crosby. Bylsma also adjusted his power play late in the third period, substituting Guerin for LW Chris Kunitz on a man-advantage that produced the Malkin goal that tied the score, 2-2. And Bylsma repeatedly turned to his fourth line of Max Talbot centering LW Pascal Dupuis and RW Craig Adams in an overtime period that lasted over 18 minutes before Guerin eventually ended it. "At different times, in different games, depending on the time-out situation, with the TV timeouts, and at the end of games, there are opportunities, maybe, to double-shift guys and get different lineups out there," Bylsma said Saturday, after the Pens' practice in advance of Game 3 this afternoon at Philadelphia. "That was one of those cases where I had that opportunity with Malkin and Crosby." Bylsma initially skated Crosby and Malkin together at the outset of periods at the beginning of his Penguins tenure. Although that no longer happens by design, Bylsma has relied upon them together when so inclined. "We were having success as lines getting offensive production, so I felt less of a need to do that," Bylsma said. "But I'd say at least in half the games in the 27 (he's been interim head coach), you've seen them together (at even strength)." As for the Talbot-Adams-Dupuis trio, "The fourth line is very capable," Bylsma said. "Those guys have all played in different roles at different times in their career. I'm comfortable with those guys on the ice.

"They manage the puck well and they all skate well, so they can do a job, get to the offensive zone. I'm confident of that, and so are they."

Two rare

• Guerin's overtime-winning goal for the Penguins on Friday in Game 2 wasn't historic, but it is in very select company. According to Elias Sports Bureau, since at least 1933, only one previous Stanley Cup playoff game had been decided in overtime by a two-man advantage goal before Guerin's 5-on-3 tally; Tampa Bay beat Washington, 4-3, in 2003 on a two-man advantage on an overtime goal by Lightning C Vincent Lecavalier .

No broadcast call

• Fans are reminded that the popular outdoor video board outside Mellon Arena will not show Game 3 today. NBC, which will broadcast the game nationally, informed the Penguins earlier this week it will not allow playoff games on its network to appear on the outdoor screen because of company policy. Canada's CBC offered the Penguins their feed to show on the outdoor screen, but NHL restrictions prohibit the team from that because NBC has exclusive United States broadcast rights. Tuesday night's Game 4 will be shown on the outdoor screen.

Cheer to jeers

• G Marc-Andre Fleury , who has stopped 64 of 67 shots through two games, is well aware of what kind of atmosphere awaits him and Penguins teammates at Wachovia Center for Game 3 today. "(Philadelphia fans) are like the ones in Pittsburgh -- pretty loud, so you don't want to give them momentum," he said. "We've seen (Philadelphia's fans) turn against (the Flyers) sometimes, too, when we shut down the power play or something like that. Maybe we can turn it in our favor."

Blitz Brooks Bop

• The hits have kept on coming for Penguins D Brooks Orpik , who was credited with 14 in his club's Game 2 victory Friday at Mellon Arena. Orpik has been credited -- keep in mind that NHL game officials, not team personnel, determine in-game statistics such as hits, giveaways and takeaways -- with 19 hits through two Stanley Cup playoff games against the Flyers. During the 2008 playoffs, Orpik paced all players with 120 hits.

Compiled by on-site Trib sports staff

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