Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-13-2018 - Prediction & Preview

NHL Playoff Preview: Can the Penguins Win Another Stanley Cup?

"I was awful. I made a lot of bad plays". Yes, it's only one game, but in a playoff series, you don't have the luxury of waiting to see if things will turn around.Hakstol needs to react. Through 83 regular season contests, 48 of the team's games have gone over the total, while 33 have gone under and just two have pushed.

Michael Raffl was still the right winger on the top line, which included Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very average as they come in ranked 15th in goals allowed, giving up 2.88 gpg, while also ranking 5th in shots allowed (29.9 spg) and 29th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 24.2% of their chances.

There's no doubt that Giroux and the Flyers will be back to battle their in-state rival for Game 2 on Friday night.

And the entire build up led to this moment, when the Golden Knights hit playoff ice for the first time, entering their first post-season pre-game warmups before the puck dropped against the Los Angeles Kings. There were only six Penguins players who did not pick up a point, the most shocking being Phil Kessel. Their offensive depth and productive defensemen make the Flyers a legit contender. He has 13 points in nine games since returning to the lineup.

At this point, it doesn't matter.

You can't measure experience, but it definitely plays a factor in the playoffs. That's when the backup goalie went out with an injury, which came a little more than a week after starter Brian Elliott went out with an abdominal injury that would require surgery.

"I just wanted to get him out of there", Hakstol said.

For Elliott, it was an up-and-down season when he was healthy.

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The eye test: Elliott has not looked close to his old self since he returned from missing almost two months following core-muscle surgery.

The Flyers trailed 3-0 in the opening period and never recovered with turnovers leading to goals combined with an overall poor night between the pipes from Brian Elliott who allowed five goals on 19 shots before Petr Mrazek gave up two goals on 14 shot in relief. Maybe he meant it, but I have a feeling he will change his mind.

Turnovers - It's not even just that there were turnovers that led to goals for the Penguins, it was who was coughing up the puck. But Wednesday, it looked as if the Harlem Globetrotters were facing the Washington Generals.

While the Penguins were lighting up the scoreboard, the Flyers were searching for answers.

Country music artist Keith Urban sings the National Anthem prior to Game Three of the Western Conference Final between the Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on May 16, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Pens have won all five. It's not fun going into (last) summer, and everybody's talking about the Pittsburgh Penguins winning their second Stanley Cup in a row.

As is his custom, Hakstol wouldn't announce his lineup. Weal could move to the fourth line at left wing, with Scott Laughton shifting from LW back to center. That included four assists in four games against the Penguins, but he's looking for even more in the postseason. No Flyer had more. During the regular season, he was 23-18 with a 2.66 GAA and a.909 save percentage on the year, including 11-10 with a 2.56 GAA and a.918 save percentage on the road. Plays like this show just how good he is. That is hard to do. They open with the Kings, which looks to me like another 4-over-1 upset chance - but since I haven't seen more than five minutes of the Golden Knights, I might be totally wrong about that. Giroux pointed a finger at himself for the PP failures, but it looked like a collective effort.

It was the flawless start for Pittsburgh who came out and scored a goal at the 2:38 mark of the first period to get the crowd going.

Now that's a scary thought.

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