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.
#Pens lines without Maatta:— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) April 12, 2018
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.
Mike Sullivan stated that the team had a video session this morning to focus on the areas where they need to be stronger.— Jesse Marshall (@jmarshfof) April 12, 2018
After a 7-0 win.
And people wonder why the guy is as successful as he is.
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.
Defense pairs as they were last night also. And Elliott has a net to himself, Mrazek and Neuvirth splitting the other.— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) April 12, 2018
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:
Claude Giroux - Sean Couturier - Michael Raffl
Oskar Lindblom - Nolan Patrick - Jakub Voracek
Travis Konecny - Valtteri Filppula - Wayne Simmonds
Scott Laughton - Jori Lehtera - Matt Read
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