Flyers outclassed in Game 1 against Penguins
Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal was a chance for the Flyers to make a statement. They made a statement, alright.
The opening minute looked like the Flyers might hang around. Then, 2:38 into the 1st, Bryan Rust opened the scoring for the 2018 playoffs.
From there, it snowballed into a disaster.
Carl Hagelin tallied a goal at 10:07, a 2-0 Penguins lead. 3:02 later, Malkin took the puck by his own blue line, picked up speed through a Flyers line change, and sent a backhander across his body to the far post on Elliott.
Thankfully, there was an 18 minute pause in the attack. Then, the intermission ended.
Guentzel added one of his own midway through the second period, finishing a pretty passing play by the Pens’ second power play unit. Not much more than a minute passed before Crosby whacked a puck, on the backhand, out of mid-air off Elliott’s shoulder and in. Almost un-defendable, but Mrazek would replace Elliott in net.
This was the first of a natural hat trick by the best player in the world. Three straight goals by the captain, two in the third, iced Game 1.
The Flyers stars were invisible in this one, but Provorov provided some light in a dark tunnel. His defensive play is something the Flyers need to build on.
Post game, coach Dave Hakstol commented that his gut says Brian Elliott returns to start Game 2 after allowing three goals on the first ten shots he faced.
The powerplay failed on any and all chances Wednesday night, posting an 0-4 on the night. On the other hand, they kept the Penguins top ranked powerplay to 1/4.
Philadelphia took a hard forechecking approach to the night, out-hitting Pittsburgh 39 to 27. Lindblom had a rough night in his playoff debut, getting a stick to the nose and being checked into the bench stanchion.
Surprisingly, the Flyers fourth line looked like it had the majority of chances out there. Lehtera played well. That could be something Philadelphia tries to exploit, but with Crosby and Malkin on top of their game, the top-6 needs to play better.
Turnovers killed Philly, with Couturier losing the puck just inside the blue line leading directly to a goal against in the first.
The score was 7-0, but the series is only 1-0. If the Flyers fix the turnovers, Pittsburgh can be exposed on the counterattack.
Lehtera had a good game and possessed the puck well.
The Flyers drew four penalties and killed three of their own infractions. They just need to convert chances.
Sidney Crosby: 3G
Jake Guentzel: 1G, 3A
Matt Murray: 23/23, SO
Petr Mrazek made 12 saves in relief of Brian Elliott.
Penguins lead, 1-0.
Game 2 Friday, PPG Paints Arena, 7pm