Penguins, Predators advance | National Hockey League playoffs roundup

Lynette Rowe
April 24, 2018

So it goes for the orange-and-black, trudging along without a Process or parade.

Sean Couturier and his Philadelphia Flyers were eliminated in six games by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was the best player in the series for either side and the Flyers had no match for him.

He has established his playoff pedigree as a sensational scorer in just two seasons and helped keep a third straight championship in sight for the Penguins.

-Nashville completed a series win with a 5-0 victory over Colorado last night. "We'll learn from it and come stronger next year". "We did that. Now we have to win the next one". "To see a guy go out there, banged up like that as much as he was, and putting that kind of effort in, it just provides so much motivation for the guys to say, 'Hey, he's going out there doing this for us".

Mattias Ekholm began the assault by beating Hammond 7:02 into the first period, becoming the first Predators defenseman to score in the series. Sidney Crosby had hockey fans salivating over his hat-trick and the manner of his performance.

There's talent in Philly. That's for general manager Ron Hextall to assemble in the offseason and the years ahead. Even in game five he was mostly very good but was part of the reason for giving up the second goal short-handed. Angry Flyers fans chanted "Fire Hakstol!" "You have players from their home team there". Murray was able to rebound and only allowed one more goal.

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"Things are never going to always go your way, especially in the playoffs", Murray said. "We came in to win the series".

Carl Hagelin left the game midway through the second period after taking a crushing but legal hit from Flyers captain Claude Giroux. Simmonds, a former All-Star, could be on the market if the Flyers are committed to a true youth movement. Pittsburgh scored five goals in a row - one by winger Patric Hornqvist , who returned after missing two games due to an upper-body injury, and four straight by winger Jake Guentzel.

Junior Alex Mullen said, "Oh for sure, we got mad potential this year!"

The Flyers could look to Nolan Patrick, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2017 draft, to play a more pivotal role next season.

Pittsburgh has reached the same round as the last three teams going for a threepeat (1989 Oilers, 1993 Penguins, 1999 Red Wings) - and all three lost in the second round. The search for a reliable goalie remains at the top of the Flyers' list. They won't re-sign Petr Mrazek.

If the Stanley Cup playoffs were reseeded after the first round, the Penguins (100 points) would have faced the Tampa Bay Lightning (113 points), while the Capitals (105 points) would have faced the victor of the Boston Bruins (112 points) and Toronto Maple Leafs (105 points) series. Crosby, naturally, tied the game when he knocked in a rebound off Kris Letang's point shot for his whopping sixth goal of the series.

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