Pittsburgh Penguins: Five Things to Watch in First-Round Matchup

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 26: Sidney Crosby
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 26: Sidney Crosby /
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  1. Crosby versus Giroux

Finishing second in scoring this year, Claude Giroux put up 102 points playing a full season. This surprising resurgence from Giroux after last year saw him score only 58 points is credited with getting the Flyers to the playoffs. The last time Giroux had more than 90 points in any season was 2011-2012. The next closest Flyer behind Giroux was Jakub Voracek with 85 points.

Crosby, while finishing tenth overall, with 89 points, equaling his total from last year, finished third on the Penguins. For the first time in his career, Crosby completed an 82 game season. In 63 career regular season games against the Flyers, Crosby has 38 goals and 55 assists. Only the Islanders have been a more favorable opponent for Crosby in the regular season.

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These two players, playing some of the best hockey of their careers, are going to be at each other’s neck throughout the series. This could be especially true if the Flyers plan to match lines, putting Giroux against Crosby to help out defensively.  Expect a lot of goals, but much less hijinks this series.