Penguins 7, Flyers 0: Flyers fall flat in Game One

Updated: April 11, 2018 at 10:05 pm by Zac DeMedio

Penguins 7 vs Flyers 0

PIT leads series 1-0

Philadelphia was absolutely boat raced by the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Game One blowout, 7-0. Brian Elliot failed to cement the starting goaltender job as his as he was pulled in the 2nd period after allowing 5 goals on 19 shots. From the moment Bryan Rust put the puck in the Flyers net, the momentum was all Penguins. This is a classic game that you immediately remove from your mind and move on to the next one. 4 different Penguins contributed to the outburst, but as usual Sidney Crosby stole the show.

1ST PERIOD

It didn’t take very long for the defending Stanley Cup Champions to open up an early lead. After turning aside some four early shots, Bryan Rust beat Brian Elliot for the first goal of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Rust’s goal came just 2:38 into the first period, and he wristed his shot past Brian Elliot over his shoulder on the short side. The puck came to Rust in the slot off a juicy rebound given up by Elliot, who tried to punch Kris Letang’s effort out of trouble but unfortunately put it right back into trouble and he paid the ultimate price for it.

A few minutes later, the Flyers had a golden opportunity to tie Game 1 up. After a Penguins turnover, Jori Lehtera spotted a wide open Scott Laughton on Matt Murray’s doorstep. The puck just wouldn’t sit for Laughton, which gave Murray an extra second of time to recover and make a sprawling save. In the playoffs, you have to convert the chances you’re given. After a couple of failed clears, the Penguins put the puck in the back of the net for the 2nd time inside 11 minutes. Sean Couturier was stripped of the puck, and Patric Hornqvist spotted Carl Hagelin alone in front of Elliot’s net. The puck ricocheted of Hagelin’s stick past Elliot to extend the home team’s advantage.

After negating Pittsburgh’s first power play of the series, Evgeni Malkin made sure to make amends for his mistake. Jumping out of the penalty box, he blocked a shot from Shayne Gostisbehere before settling the puck down and taking it coast to coast before beating Elliot with a wicked backhander. Before they even knew it, Philadelphia found themselves down 3.

A late power play came and went for the Flyers as they luckily headed down the ramp into the locker room only down 3. Pittsburgh outshot Philadelphia by a margin of 15 to 9 after 20 minutes.

2ND PERIOD

A strong start to the second stanza for Philadelphia went awry once Sean Couturier picked up a tripping penalty. The Penguins top ranked power play went to work and tallied their first goal on the man advantage courtesy of Jake Guentzel. Guentzel finished off a pretty passing play from Derek Brassard and Conor Sheary.

Just 1:11 Brian Elliot’s night came to an end as Sidney Crosby batted another puck out of mid-air and into the net. A superb play from Pittsburgh’s captain signaled the end of the 33 year olds night, which could have come earlier if we’re being honest. This goal happened after an Andrew MacDonald turnover, another self inflicted wound that has been the Flyers achilles heel all season.

If Philadelphia felt bad heading into the locker room after one down three, I can only imagine what’s going through their heads as they hit the stalls down 5 for the 2nd intermission.

3RD PERIOD

Things only got worse for the road team with no end in sight. Sidney Crosby tallied his 2nd goal of the contest, and his 59th in the postseason. A point shot was blocked out high but trickled down towards the net, Brandon Manning was unable to clear the loose puck and it landed on Crosby’s stick with a gaping net in front of him.

Crosby completed his natural hat trick just 3:01 later to extend the lead for Pittsburgh to a touchdown and the extra point. His 60th career playoff goal came courtesy of a deflection in front of Mrazek. There’s not much else left that hasn’t been said already about #87. He’s a true gamer especially when the calendar hits April and May.

QUICK HITTERS

Brian Elliot was pulled after allowing 5 goals on 19 shots in 29:01. After seeming sharp in the regular season finale, Elliot sure looked leaky tonight. Especially on the Penguins, 1st and 3rd goal. It will be interesting to see if Dave Hakstol recalls Elliot for Game Two or give Petr Mrazek a chance to claim the net.

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia looked like two teams on completely different echelons. Everything the Penguins did just felt better and more dangerous than anything the Flyers did. Pittsburgh skated faster, they were tougher to take off the puck, and they certainly cashed in on their chances. The Flyers need to seriously step up their game to compete with the defending champs.

For the fifth consecutive game, the Penguins have potted at least 5 goals into whatever net Philadelphia has tried to protect. It’s no surprise that in these games Pittsburgh has won each contest, even if two did require the extra session during the regular season.

NEXT GAME

Game Two: Flyers @ Pittsburgh, 4/11 7:00 P.M.

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