After an impressive Game One victory, the Pittsburgh Penguins will look to build their momentum in Game Two.
They'll have it a bit easier as the Flyers will be without steady backliner Kimmo Timonen due to a blood clot.
So the question remains: Can the Flyers win this series?
First, I didn't believe they would win this, even with Timonen. Coming into this series, you would think that Pittsburgh was the higher scoring team and that Philly was the better defensive team. Well, it's the opposite.
The Pens have a mobile, physical defense and a hot, young goaltender; the perfect playoff combo. Couple that with the offensive prowess of Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Marian Hossa and the rest of the forwards, there's no doubt that Pittsburgh is the more complete team.
Coming in, I felt the only way the Flyers would win was to out-work and beat up the Pens. That didn't happen in Game One, with Fleury seeing a ton of shots cleanly and Malkin having a tremendous game. If the Flyers are to win, here's what they will need to do:
Stay Out of the Box: This should be a universal rule, as it's never good to be down a man. But this is the team you really don't want to give any advantage. The Flyers need to be physical, but responsibly physical, to give themselves a shot.
Crowd Fleury: Goalies can't stop what they can't see. In Game 1, Fleury got a lot of clean looks and only let by two shots. The Flyers need a banger in a front to keep Fleury's attention and to provide screens. They must to anything to fluster him, as he's been one of the hottest goalies in the postseason.
Hit People: Specifically Crosby, Malkin and Hossa. Make them wonder at all times if a body is going to come at them. Make them apprehensive. Malkin got free reign in Game One, and he dominated.
Work the Puck to the Point: This goes hand-in-hand with crowding Fleury. Get those screens in front, work the puck to the point and let the bombs fall. With Fleury distracted and all sorts of deflection possibilities in front, a few are bound to get through.
Will the Flyers figure it all out and fight their way into this series? We'll find out tonight.
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