3-0 lead evaporates into 4-3 OT Loss in Game 1 of Playoffs
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- Jaromir Jagr played a good game. He’s 40 years-old and got beat up the ice on the Tyler Kennedy goal, but he played smart. He created opportunities, he bought open-ice time, attempted wrap-arounds. Jagr’s hockey IQ is still off the charts, even if he can’t get around the way he once did.
- The Flyers speed dictated action for much of the night.
- Pens got away from hitting like they did at beginning of game when Chris Kunitz leveled Marc-Andre Bourdon shortly before Sidney Crosby’s score.
- It’s hard to fathom Pittsburgh losing a 3-0 lead but coach Bylsma’s system doesn’t include a left-wing lock or true trap. The gate is always open for the hardest working team.
- Jordan Staal’s post or Steve Sullivan’s power-play chance could’ve wrapped up a victory. Credit Ilya Bryzgalov on his confident positioning (and glove) way out in front of the net on Sullivan’s opportunity, which he snagged with his glove.
- Power plays could’ve salted away the game, but on the Pens’ final man-advantage try it was just good that they didn’t yield a shortie. Confidence, or lack there of, is a funny thing.
- Thirty-six year-old Mathias Ohlund was a rickety old thorn in the side of the Penguins during last year’s playoffs and 37-year-old Andreas Lilja could be that same guy this time. Kimmo Timonen is the straw that stirs the drink from the Flyers’ blue line and he had a great game Wednesday.
- Even when the Pens went up by three goals it was apparent they were surrendering too many quality offensive chances.
- Evgeni Malkin (22:11 TOI) displayed a dazzling 1-on-2 move 11:30 into the game but was quiet with no points and three shots. Counterpart Claude Giroux (20:37 TOI) also was held pointless.
- When no penalty was called on Wayne Simmonds for tripping goalie Marc-Andre Fleury it set the tone for what players were allowed to get away with. There were no penalties called the first 23 minutes of the game.
- Philadelphia won 10 games during the regular season in games it spotted opponents a two-goal advantage.
- Do the Penguins have a blueliner playing well defensively? - Eric Tangradi, Dustin Jeffrey, Richard Park, Brian Strait, and Matt Niskanen served as scratches Wednesday.
- Kris Letang (28:18), Brooks Orpik (23:54), Paul Martin (23:59) and Zbynek Michalek (22:38) received a disproportionate amount of playing time Wednesday compared to Deryk Engelland (10:47) and Ben Lovejoy (9:23). You can’t hide two defensemen for an entire game, let alone a series.
- If the Pens are getting the final matchups as the home team right now, it should be real interesting when the action shifts to Philadelphia.
- The Penguins defense gets in trouble when it stops skating. The blind clears along the boards don’t help much, either, when the Philly D pinches in at the points.
- The Penguins went 1-for-35 on the power play last year in the playoffs and was held scoreless in three attempts Wednesday.
- Philadelphia got one power-play chance and scored.
- It’s possible coach Bylsma limited the fourth-line’s ice time after Joe Vitale’s fumble of an Arron Asham pass led to Daniel Briere’s off-sides goal. Or maybe it was Asham passing up an open shot on a 2-on-1 with three minutes left in the second period. Vitale totaled 8:07 TOI, Asham saw 5:17 and Craig Adams, 8:53.
- It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Penguins put Orpik and Letang back together, along with Martin and Michalek.
- Are the Flyers getting into the Penguins heads? They’ve won nine of the last 13 meetings.
- Oddly, Pittsburgh jumping out to an early first-period lead may have taken some of the pressure off of the Flyers’ young players. There's a "hey, it can’t get any worse" mentality that allowed them to just play some hockey.
- The Penguins made only three players available to the media Wednesday, Marc-Andre Fleury, Arron Asham and Craig Adams.
- Marc-Andre Fleury had a decent game. Briere’s second goal was difficult if only because he threw it from the boards on a low percentage chance. Sidney Crosby making like a goalie in front of Fleury screened the Flower and gave the puck a path into the net.
- There's plenty more hockey to be played. Hopefully, Wednesday will serve as a wakeup call for the Penguins and their fans.
- Should coach Bylsma have made a post-game stink about Briere's off-sides goal to deflect his team's poor play?
- Can you imagine the smiles on the faces of Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, Jeremy Roenick, John Tortorella, Peter Laviolette and Craig Berube on Thursday morning?
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