Ramblings: First Day of Playoffs, First Vegas Playoff Win; Sam Bennett; Jesse Puljujarvi – April 12

Michael Clifford

2018-04-11

I’m sure much of the hockey world was looking forward to the Flyers/Penguins series. Anyone following hockey for the last 10 years or so would vividly remember the 2012 series which featured goals and fights to the heart’s content.

Game 1 wasn’t so much a playoff game as it was a public execution.

Pittsburgh skated away with a 7-0 win on the back of a 24-save shutout from Matt Murray and a natural hat trick from Sidney Crosby. Brian Elliott was mercifully pulled after the fifth Pittsburgh goal and Petr Mrazek let in a couple more after that.

A lot of the focus for the fans and media will undoubtedly be Crosby, who scored a ridiculous bat-out-of-mid-air goal again. One thing that stood out to me: the Flyers didn’t get the memo to not make Evgeni Malkin mad. Not long after he took a hard hit that was blatant interference (he never had the puck and the play was about 30 feet away from him), he decided to go all Angry Geno on them:

It didn’t lead to a goal – dang post – but Malkin was simply dominant at times in this game.

Pittsburgh continued their trend of using Justin Schultz on the power play which certainly raises questions for the next fantasy season. I wrote often last summer about the mix of him and Kris Letang making for a messy situation at draft time. They seem pretty committed to using Jultz on the top PP unit. Letang is clearly the superior player, but situation matters a lot. It will make for some interesting projections.

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Winnipeg took the first game of their series against Minnesota 3-2 but some bigger news was that Mathieu Perreault injured. He took a couple big hits – one a blatant interference – and eventually just left the game late in the second and did not return. It’s the playoffs so we won’t get any sort of specific update, and the team has depth to overcome it, but he’s a key piece to their forw