The Penguins, defending Stanley Cup champions, downplayed their 7-0 series-opening win in which they dominated in pretty much every area and vowed to concentrate on Game 2 on Friday night at PPG Paints Arena.
The Flyers, conversely, were hoping to move past the painful loss and even the first-round series before it moves to Philadelphia.
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“It’s one game. Whether it’s 7-0 or 1-0 in double overtime, it’s one game,” said Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby, who had a hat trick in Game 1. “A big part in the playoffs is to get better every game and adjust. That’s the way you have to look at it.”
The Penguins expect the Flyers to do the same, and to charge back Friday.
“We know it’s going to be a tough challenge; they’re a good hockey team,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “We would expect that they would respond appropriately.”
Philadelphia has not been able to do that so far. Pittsburgh swept four games between the teams during the regular season, scoring five goals in each of those games, before trouncing their cross-state and Metropolitan Division rivals Wednesday in their postseason opener.
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said the game looked just as lopsided when he reviewed it on video.
“They did an outstanding job,” Hakstol said of the Penguins. “They were the better team. There was very little time, space. They were the quicker team, and they executed in all the little areas of the game better than we did.
“You can’t go out in practice and work on everything. It doesn’t work that way … so we just picked a couple of things that we wanted to try to brush up on. The other things, we’ll have to do through a little bit of video, a little bit of discussion, and mostly just clearing the mind and getting the focus back on Game 2.”
Flyers captain Claude Giroux, who had 102 points during the regular season, was highly disappointed after Game 1, when he was minus-4 for the first time this season.
“It’s one of the worst games I’ve been a part of,” Giroux said. “I was terrible. I made a lot of bad plays.”
Still, he was confident enough about the Flyers bouncing back that he was willing to predict a win in Game 2.
“We’ve got to play better and play with a little bit more attitude,” Giroux said. “We’ve got a day here to think about it. We’re going to get out of this together, win the next game and go back home 1-1.”
While Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray is coming off a 24-save shutout and has a franchise-record 206:26 shutout streak dating to last year’s Stanley Cup Final, it remains to be seen whether Philadelphia will come back with Brian Elliott, who gave up five goals on 16 shots in Game 1, or switch to Petr Mrazek, who allowed two goals on 14 shots in relief.
After Wednesday’s game, Hakstol said his inclination was to stick with Elliott, but he declined to confirm that after practice Thursday.
“I’m not ready to say anything about lineups,” Hakstol said. “I fully stand by what I said (Wednesday) night. That was how I felt. I’m not going to move away for sure from that, but I’m not making any lineup decisions or announcing any lineup decisions (Thursday).”