Flyers’ penalty kill pulls plug on Pens

Sean Couturier

PITTSBURGH – OK, let’s do the power play math.

The Penguins torched the Flyers to the tune of five goals on 13 attempts (38.5 percent) during the regular season.

But then a funny thing happened on the way in and out of PPG Paints Arena.

Pittsburgh’s NHL No. 1 power play has gone just a measly one for eight against the Flyers in the first two games of this best-of-seven series, which resumes in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon.

Don’t forget, the Flyers were ranked just 29th in the NHL on the PK and took all sorts of abuse heading into the series.

In Friday night’s 5-1 win, the Flyers were particularly good, blocking passing lanes, keeping shooters to the outside and frustrating the likes of superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Pittsburgh’s PP was blanked on all four chances.

Crosby missed a dunk during a power play in the final two seconds of the second period and smashed his stick over the crossbar in frustration.

That’s when the Flyers knew they had his number on this particular night.

“I think we’re in the lanes, we’re having good sticks,’’ said Sean Couturier. “We’re getting clears two hundred feet. We’re doing little things right.’’

Couturier flashed a wry grin when asked about Crosby’s temper tantrum. Crosby had an open net but sent across the crease and harmlessly away.

“Obviously a huge break,’’ Couturier said. “Those are the kinds of breaks you need to win in playoffs. The gods were on our side tonight.’’

Brian Elliott appreciated the way his players circled the wagons when Pittsburgh had a man advantage.

“They have a dangerous power play,’’ he said. “We got lucky there (on the Crosby play) at the end of the second period. They found a lane and Crosby just missed.

“We took that as our break in the game. We kind of played really, really good shutdown hockey on the penalty kill.’’

Coach Dave Hakstol said it was a case of players in those roles executing properly.

“I don’t think our PK is doing anything different than it did over the last month,’’ Hakstol said. “They have an outstanding power play, they have so many different weapons out there, so we were able to hold the line a couple times tonight.

“We were able to get our clears. Our guys just really worked hard in sync and we got some good saves from Moose (Elliott).’’

The Flyers got timely contributions from lesser lights such as Jori Lehtera and Matt Read, too.

It all added up to an impressive performance.

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About Wayne Fish 2426 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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