A slap shot on a shorthanded breakaway. How confident does a player have to be to uncork a slap shot on a shorthanded breakaway? Especially when that player had one of the fugliest penalty shots in recent memory earlier in the postseason? Geno's feeling it now, with eight goals on the postseason and playing like he's the best in the sport. His snap shot to beat Marty Biron -- off of a perfect cross-ice feed from Ryan Whitney -- seemed effortless; his slapper shorthanded was an indication that this player is going score any way he damn well pleases in this postseason.
No. 2 star: Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
Fleury continues to exude the kind of confidence his critics never expected him to exhibit in a postseason pressure cooker. He rebounded from a lousy first Philadelphia goal, and then didn't let down after the Flyers took a 2-1 lead. Fleury made 26 saves, with a couple of beauties in the mix, including a wicked poke-check on Umberger. We'd still like to see how he handles that chamber of horrors in Philadelphia before bowing down to his fortitude; that crowd's already devoured one good young goalie this postseason.
Two goals for the Flyers' dynamic forward, both of them patient plays that cashed in unpredictable rebounds. Plus, how many 195-pound centers can say they demolished Evgeni Malkin with a body check like Richards did in Game 1? R.J. Umberger, also deserves a nod here with two assists and a rather spirited game in front of friends and family. But if someone can let us know when Danny Briere shows up for the conference finals, we'd greatly appreciate it.
Major penalty: Anyone expecting this game to be three periods of Thunderdome came away sadly disappointed. An entire first period with one penalty for delay of game? Yawn. Perhaps the 16 penalty minutes we saw handed out at 18:32 of the third period will be a harbinger of things to come. The Flyers haven't played as rough on the road as they have at home; they'll need to kunckle up a little more in Game 2 to rattle the Penguins.
Minor penalty: We can't be too hard on Marty Biron, because he's 0-3 in Game 1's in the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a GAA of 4.33. Those numbers are 8-2 and a 2.38 GAA in Games 2-7. So there's some reason to believe his average night on Friday could be an aberration. For the Flyers' sake, it had better be: Stopping 17 of 21 shots isn't going to get it done, especially with Kimmo Timonen out of commission.
Conn Smythe watch (Based on playoff performance to date and likelihood of deep playoff run.)
1. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Johan Franzen, Detroit Red Wings
3. Chris Osgood, Detroit Red Wings
4. Martin Biron, Philadelphia Flyers
5. Brenden Morrow, Dallas Stars
6. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
7. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
8. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
9. Marty Turco, Dallas Stars
10. R.J. Umberger, Philadelphia Flyers