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Game Preview: Pens primed for Game 2

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Everything you need to know for Pittsburgh/Philly Game 2

2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Two Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Basics

Philadelphia Flyers (0-1) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1-0)

Start time: 7:00 PM

How to watch: Locally on AT&T Sportsnet in the Pittsburgh viewing area, NBCSN nationally. Online find out how to stream on nbcsports.com

SBN friends: Broad Street Hockey

Series to date: Pittsburgh opened up a Stone Cold can of whoop ass in Game 1, winning 7-0. Sidney Crosby recorded a hat trick. Matt Murray made 24 saves for his 3rd straight playoff shutout (dating back to last year). Evgeni Malkin scored a dizzyingly great goal. Bryan Rust, Carl Hagelin and Jake Guentzel also scored. It was everything good and pure and wonderful about hockey.

Eye on the Pens

Olli Maatta was given a maintenance day yesterday and missed practice. Given all the rest of the last week, maybe he got a little dinged up somewhere in Game 1. Although officially no one knows, Maatta is expected as of now to be able to play Game 2. Otherwise the Penguins lined up the same in practice yesterday, as you would expect a team that just won 7-0 isn’t going to make many changes.

For their part, the Pens challenge seems to be realizing: A) that a decisive Game 1 win doesn’t end a series and B) that they need to stay focused and detail focused to make sure that they take care of their home ice advantage in Game 2. As usual, coach Mike Sullivan has his finger right on the pulse of the team.

Ideally the Pens can do much of the same as Game 1 - work hard to put pressure on Philly. Exploit the mistakes that pressure creates to turn into scoring chances. Feast on weak goaltending to jump out to a lead. Never look back.

That’s easier said than done, of course, but clearly the blueprint is already on the table for how the best case scenario can go.

And in the other corner, the Flyers of Philly

In their attempt to hit the reset button on a disastrous Game 1, it looks like the Flyers and coach Dave Hakstol are going to.....Change nothing at all. Personnel-wise at least.

Hakstol was also quick to point out after Game 1 that Brian Elliott (14 saves on 19 shots) will be his starting goalie for Game 2. No changes to the lines means a start of:

Forwards

Claude Giroux - Sean Couturier - Michael Raffl

Oskar Lindblom - Nolan Patrick - Jakub Voracek

Travis Konecny - Valtteri Filppula - Wayne Simmonds

Scott Laughton - Jori Lehtera - Matt Read

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov - Shayne Gostisbehere

Travis Sanheim - Andrew MacDonald

Brandon Manning- Radko Gudas

—One item to watch, which the Flyers harped on was only getting 10 shots on goal from forwards in Game 1. Obviously that isn’t sustainable at the NHL playoff level to get such little involvement from the guys whose job it is to score goals.

—Also expect the Flyers to try and drive to the net more and try and get better shots in and around Murray. As many have seen, Philly was basically shut out of shots in the dangerous areas of the ice in Game 1.

The Flyers probably won’t say it, but the first goal will be huge for this game. If the Pens get it, look out, Philly could be on the ropes. Pittsburgh has scored 5+ in all five games against them this year, surely an early goal against could have the confidence unravel and the Flyers scampering home for Game 3 (on a quick turnaround to Sunday afternoon) to try and dig in and make a series out of this.

However, if Philly gets that first goal, the dynamic changes. Confidence will bloom quickly and maybe they make a series out of this tonight...Then again, maybe not. The Flyers were just 12-1-5 when leading after 1 period (.667% was 26th in the league) and what really stands out is they only had a lead 18 out of 82 times after 20 minutes. That’s not very often they started quickly. (Pittsburgh had a 1st period lead 27 times).

They said it

“It [was] only one game. We know it’s going to be a hard series, and the games are going to get harder and harder. We have to make sure we come out with a little better mindset and play the right way.” — Pens winger Patric Hornqvist

“You can’t see yourself as a victim out there, you have to be a little bit the aggressor. Have a battle mentality that you’re going to go out there and fight no matter what happens. There’s no give up. There’s no feeling sorry for yourself.”’ — Flyer goalie Brian Elliott