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Years since a Phillies catcher batted leadoff before Andrew Knapp did so Sunday

Back from the Dead

Posted by Eric Fisher On April 13

To borrow a phrase from Mark Twain, reports of the Flyers’ death were greatly exaggerated.

After being completely outclassed Game 1, the Flyers bounced back with a 5-1 triumph over the host Penguins, sending the series to Wells Fargo Center on Sunday (3 p.m.) with each team having won one game.

“It’s the character of our team,” Flyers center Sean Couturier said. “All year long we fought back from tough losses.”

But few losses were as difficult to digest at the 7-0 drubbing the Flyers suffered at the hands of the Penguins in Game 1. Then again, the Flyers bounced back from a 10-game losing streak to make the playoffs.

Goalie Brian Elliott, replaced by Petr Mrazek midway through the second period of Game 1 after allowing five goals on 19 shots, found redemption with 34 saves.

“Moose (Elliott) played a great game,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “For all you doubters out there, there you go.”

Elliott, who returned from a prolong absence due to surgery on a core muscle in time to play the final two games of the regular season, continued to look unsteady during the first period. The Penguins hit the post three times during the first half of the game. But Elliott became more confident as the game progressed.

Elliott’s biggest save came during the second period. With the Flyers holding a 2-0 lead and both teams one player down due to coincidental minors, Elliott stood his ground on a clean breakaway by Sidney Crosby. When Crosby switched to his backhand, Elliott’s glove was there to rob him.

The Flyers built the 2-0 lead on a goal by Shayne Gostisbehere during the final minute of the first period and a goal by Couturier during the first minute of the second period. With the Flyers on a power play, Couturier made a play behind the net, and then made a diving play to get the puck back to Giroux at the left point. He passed it over to Gostisbehere, whose shot found its way past Penguins goalie Matt Murray with rookie Nolan Patrick setting up the screen with 36 seconds remaining in the first period.

Couturier’s goal came when his shot from in tight deflected off Murray’s stick and bounced into the net off defenseman Kris Letang, who was trying to prevent Giroux from getting to a rebound.

The Flyers scored again early in the third period on  Travis Konecny’s superb effort along the right wing. Konecny skated away from his defenseman down the right-wing boards and put a host past Murray on his short-side. Less than four minutes later, Patrick extended the Flyers’ lead to 4-0 when Couturier slid a between-the-legs blind pass from the right side of the net to a wide-open Patrick on the left side.

“We knew we were capable of coming out tonight and putting on a good performance,” Konecny said.

The Flyers may have been confident in their capabilities, but many fans checked out ofter Wednesday’s 7-0 destruction. Many bailed on Elliott as well, but Flyers head coach Dave Haskol stuck with his veteran netminder.

“You just want to take advantage of that opportunity,” Elliott said.

While Elliott was stopping 34 of 35 shots, Murray gave up four goals in 19 shots. His playoff shutout streak ends at three games. Could it be the Penguins who have questions in goal entering Game 3?

The Flyers made Elliott’s job easier by thwarting four Penguins power plays. Meanwhile, the Flyers scored on two of their three power plays.

 

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