Everything went wrong last night. There are no positives to take from the beat down the Flyers were given by the Penguins yesterday, except for the fact that it is only one game, and when game 2 comes around on Friday, it’ll start 0-0.
Th Flyers came out for this one almost inexcusably flat, offering nothing at the Penguins and acting as nothing more than a set of 5 turnstiles on defense, providing little to no resistance as the Penguins ran rampant through their offensive zone, meticulously dissecting every Flyer defender to the tune of seven goals. And if it wasn’t bad enough, Brian Elliott still looked rusty, giving up multiple weak goals including a backhand from Evgeni Malkin which had very little power behind it that really broke the Flyers’ back.
Now for a quick summary. Right off the bat, under three minutes in, Bryan Rust scored off a rebound to make it 1-0. However, right after that Scott Laughton had a wide open chance in front, but couldn’t get enough wood on the shot to beat Matt Murray. And after that, the game was over,
Carl Hagelin at 10:07 of the first, 2-0
Evgeni Malkin at 5:51 of the first, 3-0
Guentzel on the Power Play at 12:10 of the second, 4-0
Crosby at 9:01 of the second, 5-0
Crosby at 7:41 of the second, 6-0
Crosby at 10:42 of the third, 7-0. Game Over.
As if the first period wasn’t bad enough, Sidney Crosby felt it necessary to further rub salt in the very deep wounds by going off for a natural hat-trick in the 2nd and 3rd periods to stretch the score to 7-0, further compounding the embarrassment.
It is difficult to explain what didn’t go wrong in game 1, so let’s talk about what the Flyers need to change for Game 2. First off, the penalties. The Flyers took four penalties last night, which cannot happen when you’re playing the number one ranked Power Play in the league, especially when your Penalty Kill has been in the bottom third of the league for the entirety of the year. The Penguins will burn you for at least one goal per game if the Flyers continue to be that undisciplined.
On the flip side, the Flyers had four Power Plays of their own, and were not even able to muster up even a single shot on goal. The Penguins are well known to have a very aggressive PK, but it seems that the coaching staff has adjusted nothing to counteract that, making the Flyers man advantage virtually useless in Game 1.
The final thing that has to change is pride. The Flyers showed up to PPG Paints Arena yesterday with zero visible desire to win, I have never seen a team during the first game of the playoffs look so seemingly unmotivated for what is one of the important games of the season. Hopefully the Flyers come out angry in the second game, and are at least able to put up some sort of a fight.
Feature Image// AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar