Flyers turn tables on Penguins
His team embarrassed by the defending Stanley Cup champions in a lopsided playoff-opening loss, Philadelphia Flyers coach Dave Hakstol could have panicked. Instead, he doubled down.
No switching up the lines. No swapping the goaltenders. Nothing. Hakstol didn’t think changes were necessary. As ugly as getting blown out by Pittsburgh in Game 1 looked, it felt even worse. That was motivation enough. No personnel changes necessary.
“It was pretty tough for us to walk out of the rink a couple nights ago,” Hakstol said. “That wasn’t us.”
Sean Couturier had a goal and two assists, Brian Elliott stopped 34 shots and Flyers cooled off the Penguins 5-1 on Friday night to even the first-round series at a game apiece.
“Said it coming in, nobody is really giving us a serious chance in this series,” Hakstol said. “I don’t know if anybody still will. I do know this, we’ve got it down to a five-game series and we introduced ourselves into this series tonight.”
Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Konecny, Andrew McDonald and Nolan Patrick also scored for the Flyers. Two nights after getting crushed 7-0, Philadelphia responded by keeping Pittsburgh stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in check and taking advantage of what few chances it produced against Matt Murray to beat the Penguins for the first time this season.
“For all the doubters out there, there you go,” Flyers forward Claude Giroux said.
Game 3 is Sunday in Philadelphia.
Patric Hornqvist scored Pittsburgh’s lone goal with just over 5 minutes left to avoid the shutout, but the Penguins looked ordinary for long stretches after looking unstoppable in the opener.
Pittsburgh outshot the Flyers 35-20, a number that didn’t include a pair of shots that hit the post early or Crosby fanning on a wide-open net in the waning seconds of the second period.