Flyers need to improve everywhere to win Game 2


The Pittsburgh Penguins sent quite a message in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night with a 7-0 win that featured a Sidney Crosby hat trick, a highlight reel goal from Evgeni Malkin, a four-point night from Jake Guentzel, and, completely sliding under the radar in the midst of the offensive onslaught, a third consecutive playoff shutout for starting goalie Matt Murray.

Capitals defenseman John Carlson said he thinks playoff rivalries have gotten worse more because of what players can get away with, the physical toll games take and the memories of the nasty things that happen. The defensemen in front of Murray turned Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds into a bystander. Philadelphia's power play went 0 for 4 and didn't even generate a shot. "Let it go", Konecny said of the message the players gave to each other.

The Pittsburgh Penguins were mediocre for parts of the final three weeks of the season, but this is the postseason and they are going for their 3rd straight Stanley Cup Title.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway tonight with three games: Philadelphia at Pittsburgh and Minnesota at Winnipeg at 7 p.m. ET, and Los Angeles at Vegas at 10 p.m.

Offensively, the Penguins dominated, led by Sidney Crosby's hat trick. "They were the better team".

Brian Elliott (25.7 saves per game) has been the main option in goal for Philadelphia. Hakstol declined to elaborate on his plans Thursday, though he's well aware Elliott's play was not Philadelphia's only issue. "You go to the net and sometimes they end up there and they don't always go in. A big part in the playoffs is to get better every game and to adjust, and that's the way we have to look at it". "When it's us or it's them, that's how you find those rivalries".

Another loss would put Philadelphia in a perilous spot going home.

It may not matter who is in goal because the Penguins have torched whomever the Flyers have used this season, scoring 27 goals in five games, including five tallies in each of the four regular-season matchups.

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Neuvirth was called upon then and responded brilliantly, with a 31-save victory in Game 4 and an even better, 44-save Game 5 shutout win. Good luck with that.

"You guys are talking about sort of all the details and it's just things that we can't be thinking about", Giroux said quickly after an early skate Wednesday. "You can probably apply that to a lot of our game". Then an injury sidelined him for 25 games only to have him return to the lineup for the final two games against teams well out of the playoffs to close out the season. If the Jets can do it twice in three days, they'll have firm control against sloppy Minnesota. Brian Elliott was rocked in game one and he is now 15-23 in the postseason in his career.

"I think the game has changed in how it's being played out there", Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said.

Mark Schiefele, with a power-play goal, and Patrik Laine also scored for Winnipeg, and Connor Hellebuyck made 18 saves. Having a crammed and raucous Bell MTS Place certainly helped.

In Game 1, the Penguins went through the Flyers like a tractor-trailer through the Fort Pitt Tunnels at night: One minute, the game was tied; the next, the city was lit right before their eyes.

The expansion Golden Knights looked every bit ready for the playoffs when they rode goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to a 1-0 victory in Game 1.

"The Golden Knights have been very profitable all year".

"For me, I've been here for a long time, this is a team and I'm rooting for them", he said.