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Philadelphia Flyers could be in for a long series against Pittsburgh Penguins

12 Avril 2018

Not only did Philadelphia fail to score a single goal in their first playoff game of 2018, but also they allowed Pittsburgh to cruise for an easy 7-0 win, with Sidney Crosby leading the way by finishing with a hat trick.

In its only other playoff appearances since joining the National Hockey League in 1999 in Atlanta, the franchise was swept in 2006-07 by the New York Rangers and 2011 by Anaheim.

Pittsburgh's first goal was a bad rebound from Elliott, he couldn't cut down a deflection that went under his arm on the second goal and let in a stoppable backhand from Evgeni Malkin on the third.

But, for what it's worth, Minnesota battled throughout this one and it was a pretty tight, physical game until the end. Boyle, who has blocked 113 shots in 106 career playoff games, has seen more fights in blowout games deep into a series than at other times because there's too much at stake to take a retaliatory penalty. If the Flyers can somehow salvage a victory in hostile territory, they'll still claim home ice advantage with three games at home - starting on Sunday at 3 the Wells Fargo Center. Crosby pushed the glove away with his stick and reignited a melee in a good, old-fashioned Pittsburgh-Philadelphia playoff game that featured three fights, way more scrums and 158 penalty minutes. "Everybody just has to be better".

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are here and that means exciting hockey is right around the corner.

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins provided proof in Pittsburgh's 7-0 dismantling of the Philadelphia Flyers in the opening game of their first-round series Wednesday night. That partially explains how his Flyers went on a stunning run in February after slogging through a 10-game losing streak late in 2017.

Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck stopped 18 of 20 in his first taste of playoff action while Mark Scheifele netted his first postseason goal in the first period.

Elliott had similar numbers to two-time Cup Winner Matt Murray this season, and if he gets hot he could steal a series. Mrazek made 12 saves, but Hakstol indicated he's likely to go with Elliott again in Friday's Game 2.

Since September 2016, an expansion team - the Vegas Golden Knights - has been added to the league.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 shots for the 63rd win and 11th shutout in his postseason career.

Miraculously, the Flyers put together a 15-7-5 record during their seven-week goalie carousel, staying afloat in the Eastern Conference playoff race until they could get Elliott - "our guy", Hakstol repeatedly called him over the last 10 days or so - up to speed as he returned from one of those infamous core muscle injuries that have hobbled several of his current teammates over the last few years. With the win, Vegas became the first team to post a shutout win its playoff debut since 1968, and the fifth in National Hockey League history.

Who are the key players?

. Crosby's goal was dazzling as he deflected the puck out of mid air and redirected it past Elliott. The Lightning will cut short the Penguins' aim at a three-peat by beating them in the conference finals. With the playoffs being a different playing scenario, Holtby probably is the better option to start over Grubauer even with Holtby's struggles after the all-star break. Both of them registered eight shutouts in the regular season. The Bolts hope to regain the dominant early-season form after a worn out stretch run.

Washington Capitals over Columbus Blue Jackets in 6 - Caps get rid of Tortorella without trouble.

The Pittsburgh Penguins' quest for a third consecutive Stanley Cup begins Wednesday night at PPG Paints Arena.

Philadelphia Flyers could be in for a long series against Pittsburgh Penguins