PITTSBURGH — If the 2017-18 regular season proved anything within the Flyers' dressing room, it was the level of resiliency and determination they played with throughout times of adversity. They were forced to overcome a 10-game winless stretch that plummeted them to the bottom of the Metropolitan Division standings, while also battling through a multitude of goaltending injuries.
The Flyers will attempt to draw on that experience and hopefully utilize it to their advantage for Game 2.
“It’s good to keep it in your mind a little bit, but at the end of the day we’ve got to move on,” captain Claude Giroux said. “They’ve got to beat us four times, right? We’re not going to change the way we play, what we do because of one game. Obviously, it’s not a pretty one but we’ve put that one behind us. We’re ready for Game 2 and if we go home at 1-1, we’ll be pretty happy with that.”
Can Elliott hold up?
Dave Hakstol met with starting goaltender Brian Elliott following Thursday’s practice as the Flyers head coach presumably checked in on the status of his starting goaltender while looking to ensure he was 100 percent ready and able to withstand the demands of a playoff series.
Hakstol did not back down from his support of Elliott despite allowing five goals on 19 shots.
“Two things: I think he’s reading plays well and I think he’s finding and seeing the puck well,” Hakstol said. “We have to do a better job in front of him and I don’t care who’s in net. He’s got to do his part and provide the saves for us, and hand-in-hand, we have to do a better job in front of him.”
Elliott has dropped his last seven playoff decisions dating back to Game 2 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals.
Making the Pens sweat
A by-product of Wednesday’s 7-0 loss was the luxury of the Penguins and head coach Mike Sullivan, to rest key players once the game was clearly decided midway through the second period. Sidney Crosby played four and a half minutes below his regular season average and most of the Penguins regulars saw their playing time cut back in an effort to conserve energy.
To have a chance at extending the series to six or seven games, the Flyers acknowledged they must force Pittsburgh to play a more physical game and exert considerably more effort than they did in Game 1.
Solving Matt Murray
Another deterrent for the Flyers entering Game 2 is the play of Matt Murray as the Pens goaltender continues to elevate his performance in the playoffs. When Murray takes the ice Friday, he’ll be looking to extend his current postseason shutout streak which currently stands at 206 minutes and 26 seconds — a mark that includes three straight shutouts over ten-plus periods of playoff hockey.
“I think for him he’s the type of guy that always has a chip on his shoulder. He always has something to prove and he’s always trying to get better,” Penguins forward Bryan Rust said. “I think you can see it in practice and you can see it in each day that he comes to the rink and constantly trying to get better. That helps him rise to the occasion.”
Following his Game 1 shutout, Murray improved to 52-11-5 at PPG Paints Arena and 14-2 in the postseason.
Projected lines and pairings
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