I don’t really think anyone had any words for Wednesday night’s debacle in Pittsburgh.
That being said, if there was ever a time for the Flyers to start with a clean slate. It’s tonight. Things arguably can’t get any worse than they were the other night, but the Flyers will have to be on top of their game if they want to bring this series back to Philly tied at 1
REGULAR SEASON STATS
Flyers (42-26-14, 98pts) @ Penguins (47-29-6, 100pts)
TOP 3 SCORERS (Regular Season)
Claude Giroux 34 goals, 102 points
Jakub Voracek 20 goals, 85 points
Sean Couturier 31 goals, 76 points
Yevgeni Malkin 42 goals, 98 points
Phil Kessel 34 goals, 92 points
Sidney Crosby 29 goals, 89 points
REGULAR SEASON SERIES
Penguins won 4-0-0 (Flyers 0-2-2)
Nov. 27 @ Pittsburgh – Penguins 5-4 (OT)
Jan. 2 @ Philadelphia – Penguins 5-1
March 7 @ Philadelphia – Penguins 5-2
March 25 @ Pittsburgh – Penguins 5-4 (OT)
WATCH / LISTEN / FACE-OFF
LISTEN: 97.5 The Fanatic
PUCK DROP: 7:00 PM
LINE COMBINATIONS (Courtesy of Daily Faceoff)
Philadelphia: Flyers Line Combinations
Despite some harsh opposition to the decision from fans, Dave Hakstol made the decision to keep the lineup the same as it was in Game 1. That decision could very well make or break the Flyers season.
On one side of the argument, changing the lines around would be akin to a knee-jerk decision after one really bad game. On the other hand, the Flyers may have needed a lineup change to compete with the Penguins speed and stay out of the box.
Brian Elliott will also get the start in net. That decision also comes as a bit of a surprise considering he hasn’t played all that well since coming back from injury, leading some to believe he may not be feeling 100%. Mrazek also has put up great post-season numbers will Detroit.
Giroux – Couturier – Raffl
Lindblom – Patrick – Voracek
Konecny – Filppula – Simmonds
Laughton – Lehterä – Read
Provorov – Gostisbehere
MacDonald – Sanheim
Manning – Gudas
Pittsburgh: Penguins Line Combinations
The Penguins would almost be foolish to change anything around in their lineup. Crosby had a natural hat trick, the team put up 7 goals, and the Flyers really had no formidable offensive chances past the first period.
They will roll out the exact same lines as Game 1 in an effort to take this series back to Philly with a 2-0 lead.
Guentzel – Crosby – Rust
Hagelin – Malkin – Hörnqvist
Sheary – Brassard – Kessel
Kuhnackl – Sheahan – Aston-Reese
Dumoulin – Letang
Määttä – Schultz
Hunwick – Oleksiak
THREE STORYLINES TO WATCH
The one strong suit the Flyers had going coming into the playoff was their power play. Although they were officially ranked in the middle of the pack, their first unit is lethal with the man advantage. They failed to generate even a single shot on net while up a man in Game 1. That has to change. If the Flyers are going to win this series, special teams are going to need to carry them, and Wednesday’s game was not the ideal start.
Brian Elliott has to return to mid-season form and fast. The entire team was sloppy and didn’t come ready to play in Game 1, but two of the first three goals were very stoppable pucks. If the Flyers would have gone into the second period down by a goal, that could have ended up an entirely different ballgame.
There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding Dave Hakstol’s coaching style over the course of this season, but Game 1 really exemplified how outcoached the Flyers were. The Penguins came out with all the energy in the world. More telling was the fact that some of the Flyers sound defensive players were making mistakes and just looked flat out lost. Couturier had several bad turnovers, Giroux was a -4, Gostisbehere couldn’t hit the net, and nearly all of the Flyer shots came from above the top of the circles. There was no drive toward the net. Hakstol made no inkling of a goalie change until the game was out of reach, Brandon Manning led the Flyers in even-strength time on ice, and the Flyers ended the game with their timeout unused. Mike Sullivan did a great job in that game, whereas Dave Hakstol’s team was shutout for the 3rd time in 7 playoff games. It has to be better.