Penguins find script painfully familiar

Flyers resiliency pays off again, and no one seems to have an answer for it

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Penguins forward Craig Adams doesn't know why the Penguins are in the habit of blowing leads against the Philadelphia Flyers. If he or any of the other Penguins had it figured out they surely would have had done something Wednesday night to prevent a 4-3 overtime loss to the Flyers in Game 1 of a first-round series at Consol Energy Center.

It was the third time in the past four games against the Flyers that the Penguins blew multiple goal leads. The previous two times it happened, the Penguins blew two-goal leads. They one-upped themselves and blew a three-goal lead this time.

"It's not a shock," Adams said. "They've done it against us a couple of times. I saw some stat that they've been down by two goals in 20 of the past 30 games. They're not going to quit. We know that. We just didn't sustain our effort long enough."

The Flyers completed the comeback 2:23 into overtime when Jakub Voracek whacked in a rebound past Marc Andre Fleury. The Flyers, like the Penguins, are an explosive offensive team, but Penguins coach Dan Bylsma noticed a pattern in their comeback.

Two of the goals were not pretty goals off the rush. Danny Briere's second goal and Voracek's winner were the result of dogged fore-checking and keeping the puck in the Penguins zone.

"In the overtime it was evident," Bylsma said. "They had repeated pressure in our zone."

The first Flyers goal came on a breakaway by Briere that was off sides, but the linesman missed the call. Briere's second goal got the Flyers to within one midway through the third period.

Briere threw a shot to the net where Fleury appeared to be screened by Sidney Crosby. It might have been a fluky goal, but it was the result of sustained pressure on the Penguins, whose defense failed to clear the puck.

"Obviously, we're not playing the way we need to play for long enough," Adams said. "We need to keep playing in their end. We can't sit back. We're not trying to sit back. We need to keep the pressure on them and keep generating chances and try to score more goals. We have to stay on the fore check and put pucks in their end. We didn't do that enough."

Byslma also said the Penguins gave the Flyers too many quality scoring chances. The Penguins outshot the Flyers 28-26, Bylsma said afterward that the Penguins did not get to their game often enough.

Briere's breakaway goal came off a bad turnover, and the third goal by Brayden Schenn came off a rush on a power play.

It was the only power play of the game for the Flyers, and they capitalized. The Penguins, meanwhile, were 0 for 4 on power play opportunities.

"They're very good off the rush and have good transition offense," Bylsma said. "The last two periods of hockey there was too much of that. There was too much back and forth and not managing the puck in the neutral zone."

Game 2 is Friday night, and Bylsma has to find a way to keep this game from getting into the heads of his players.

"It's one game," he said. "They did a lot of that all season. They keep coming back from deficits. They got a big goal from Briere that got them back in it and they kept chipping away. They don't stop."

By now, the Penguins have that message loud and clear.

penguins

Ray Fittipaldo: rfittipaldo@post-gazette.com and Twitter @rayfitt1. First Published April 12, 2012 12:00 AM


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