PITTSBURGH - The Philadelphia Flyers don't want to change much going into Game 2 of their opening round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night.
After a slow start in Game 1, which saw them down 3-0 after the opening period, the Flyers kept to their game plan of chipping pucks behind the Penguins defence and were rewarded with a 4-3 overtime win.
Expect more of the same from the Flyers tonight.
By the count of Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and his staff, the Flyers put 46 pucks "with a purpose" behind the Pittsburgh defence in Game 1.
“I think a lot of teams just try to redirect pucks behind the defence and get it down to the goal line,” said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. “Their objective seems pretty simple: get it out, get it through and get it in. They probably had 50 behind us. I’m not sure exactly what that means. I know you need to take care of the puck. Turnovers in any sport usually lead to a loss. That’s any sport, doesn’t matter what it is you take care of the ball, you take care of the puck, you take care of whatever it is or you’re going to be looking at them coming back the other way.
“So many teams are playing an aggressive system, an aggressive game now. It’s better to play that game on one goal line than the other. I think you see that’s throughout the league, that’s the objective of most teams on most nights.”
The Flyers penalty killing was perfect on the night, forcing the Penguins to go 0-for-3, including kills when the Penguins were up 3-0 and 3-1. Goals in either of those circumstances might have won the game for Pittsburgh. The Penguins will add some new wrinkles to their power play for tonight, including moving forward Steve Sullivan to the point on the first unit along with Kris Letang. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will probably set up on the goal line with Art Ross Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin on the boards.
“I think special teams always factor into a game, so if you look at it in that sense, it was definitely a factor,” said Laviolette. “If you think about it, the penalty kills, if they let one through, that lead maybe becomes too big. It was big enough as it was when it was sitting 3-0. We needed to get saves, we needed to execute in the area of specialty teams.”
It’s expected the Flyers will make one lineup change for tonight, putting veteran defenceman Pavel Kubina in for Marc-Andre Bourdon, who was injured in Game 1.