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Crosby, Penguins flatten Flyers in opener

Posted by Eric Fisher On April 11

From the Flyers’ perspective, the best thing about Game 1 of their first-round series with the Penguins is it’s over.

The Penguins looked like two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. The Flyers, to put it mildly, did not.

Sidney Crosby registered a natural hat trick, scoring the Penguins’ final three goals as they embarrassed the Flyers, 7-0, in Game 1.

The Flyers turned the puck over repeatedly in their own zone during the first period, putting themselves in a three-goal hole. Bryan Rust got the Penguins off to a fast start by scoring 2:38 into the game. Bryan Elliott gave up a long rebound on Kris Letang’s shot from the right circle. The puck went right to Rust, who ripped a shot between Elliott and the post. The Penguins’ second goal, which came from Carl Hagelin 10:07 into the opening period, came after several failed Flyers attempts to clear the puck out of the zone.

The circumstances for the third goal were different. Evgeni Malkin emerged from the penalty box and crossed the red line, avoiding a half-hearted attempt by Jakub Voracek to slow him down as Voracek went to the bench. Malkin cut between Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere as he picked up speed at the blue line and, with Gostisbehere trying to defend, flicked a backhand shot past Elliott at 14:09 of the first period.

Elliott gave up two more goals in a span of 1:11 midway through the second period before being replaced by Petr Mrazek.

Meanwhile, the Flyers couldn’t get anything past Penguins goalie Matt Murray. He made 24 saves to extend his playoff shutout streak to three games.

The Flyers were also undisciplined. Three of their four minor penalties came in the offensive zone. With the Penguins having the top-ranked power play in the NHL, the Flyers must avoid those types of bad penalties.

The Penguins scored on one of their four power plays, which is one more goal than the Flyers scored during their four power plays. The referees missed a high stick by Penguins defenseman Olli Maataa on Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom that probably should have drawn a major penalty, but there certainly isn’t any guarantee that the Flyers would have taken advantage of the power play to get back into the game. The Flyers were ineffective on the power play, just as they were in virtually every aspect of Wednesday’s game.

The Flyers must cut down on turnovers in their defensive zone. It would help, of course, if they spent more time in the offensive zone.

A lot must change from Game 1 to avoid an early exit from the postseason.

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