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Pens ice Game 1 in Eastern finals

Yeah, that's the way I like it.

Just like Game 7 in the Capitals series, the Penguins jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period.

That's good enough to grab another drink, kick back and relax while cheering every check, shift and shot by the Pens.

Unfortunately, the Pens didn't rout the Hurricanes like they did the Caps. It would have been fun, but it wasn't necessary, either.

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury overshadowed Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Staal brothers with a strong 25-save performance.

This could be a sign that Fleury is getting hot at the right time. A hot goaltender can carry a team.

And not to get too far ahead of things, but if you look down the road, a potential matchup against the Red Wings looms. Fleury could be the difference if he's in the zone.

But let's get back to Monday night.

Malkin had a goal and an assist, Crosby didn't score (!) but he did have an assist, and the Hurricanes were stuffed on offense.

The only problem is we'll need to wait until Thursday for Game 2. You gotta thank the NHL for treating this like an NBA series that's spread out over two weeks.


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So much for Byron the great backup

I never understood the Steelers' fascination with their backup quarterbacks.

They've had either Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich for what seems like ages now.

And when the Steelers really needed a backup, Leftwich couldn't deliver.

Leftwich rambled 31 yards for a touchdown Sunday against the Ravens, but other than that burst, the Steelers couldn't do anything on offense in a 13-10 loss that puts them in a bad position in the AFC North.

Leftwich, with his long delivery, looks better suited for the Pirates' bullpen than behind center.

He went 18-for-39 passing for 201 yards, but couldn't help a Steelers' offense that looks lost right now.

The Ravens came into the game with a weak defense. The thought was Leftwich could manage the game, the Steelers could find a running back to rely on and they'd escape with a win.

It didn't work out that way.

And it looks like we could see Batch at QB this week -- or someone else.

The Steelers are worried about Leftw…