Penguins fall again, 8-5
The Penguins finally have the band together, but this might have been the night the music died.
A healthy amount of star power has coincided with the Penguins becoming a stunningly careless defensive team, and it was the same story Friday night in an 8-5 loss in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Consol Energy Center.
Jaromir Jagr scored the game-winning goal in another Flyers' comeback. Claude Giroux enjoyed the biggest game of his career, producing three goals and three assists. Flyers rookie Sean Couturier also registered a hat trick.
Call it a Flyers' comeback, or maybe it was a Penguins' meltdown.
"I don't really know what to say," Penguins right wing Craig Adams said. "Just a weird, weird game."
Should the Penguins fail to win in Philadelphia on Sunday or Wednesday, the series — and their season — will be over.
So, how do they recover?
"We just have to regroup tomorrow and see what we're doing wrong," said defenseman Brooks Orpik, who led all players with eight hits. "We have 20 guys that are working as hard as they can. No one is pointing fingers. Everyone is giving max effort. It's executing better. They're taking advantage of every mistake we make. We're hanging our goalie out to dry."
Evgeni Malkin, the NHL's leading scorer, was a minus-4 against the Flyers. But he isn't about to give up on this series.
"We still have a chance," Malkin said. "It's not over. We have confidence. Why not• We have beaten the Flyers in Philly before. Why not do it again?"
Sidney Crosby gave the Penguins the lead just 15 seconds into the game. They enjoyed leads of 2-0, 3-1, 4-3 and 5-4. On every occasion, the Flyers roared back, and did so largely because of Penguins' turnovers.
"We had a great start again," Malkin said. "And we lost control again. I don't know why it happens."
With the series on the line entering the third period, Tyler Kennedy gave the Penguins a 5-4 advantage when his backhand effort squirted through goalie Ilya Bryzgalov's pads.
In keeping with the fashion of the series, the Penguins' lead lasted a mere 17 seconds.
A horrific turnover from defenseman Ben Lovejoy gave Couturier a breakaway. He made no mistake, scoring his second goal of the game to even the score, 5-5.
"Our players were so resilient," Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said. "It was
Then, Jagr took advantage of center Jordan Staal's inability to clear a loose puck and a poor rebound from Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Flyers their first regulation lead of the series.
Unlike the Penguins, Philadelphia was able to slow the game down and preserve its lead.
In a somber postgame locker room, many of the Penguins players maintained that this series isn't over.
Starting Sunday in Game 3, the truth will be revealed.
"It's a good team over there," Staal said. "We're a good team, too. We've got to find a way to win a game. Next one is a big one."
The next loss might be fatal.
"Philly is a great team," Malkin said. "But we need to focus."
Game 2 Penguins vs. Flyers 4/1 3⁄11
The Flyers defeat the Penguins, 8-5, in Game 2 of their Stanley Cup playoff series.