Four-goal, third-period surge gives Flyers 2-game lead on Penguins



There are parts of this that simply don't make sense.

Score five goals in a playoff game -- at home, no less -- and you probably should win.

The Penguins couldn't.

Penguins press conference

Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma discusses his team's loss to the Flyers in the second game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs Friday night.

Limit the other team to playing with a lead during regulation time just once in the first two games of a series, and you probably shouldn't be in a 2-0 hole.

The Penguins are.

Of course, logic gets skewed a bit when you give up hat tricks to two opponents in the same game, as the Penguins did in their 8-5 loss against Philadelphia in Game 2 of the opening round at Consol Energy Center Friday night.

Philadelphia center Claude Giroux scored three goals -- one of them short-handed -- and set up three others, while rookie Sean Couturier got three goals and an assist.

The Flyers also got goals from a couple of Penguins alums, Max Talbot and Jaromir Jagr, and have taken a 2-0 edge in the series, which will resume with Game 3 at 3:08 p.m. Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Game 4 will be played there Wednesday night.

"We have to be a little desperate here," Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis said. "But we're pretty confident in ourselves. Hopefully, we'll come back with a 2-2 tied series."

Conversely, if the Flyers win Games 3 and 4, the one Friday night will be the last of the season at Consol Energy Center.

PG VIDEO

While the Penguins clearly are in a perilous spot, there are precedents for teams winning a best-of-seven after dropping the first two games on home ice. The list even includes one featuring these two franchises.

In 2000, the Flyers lost the first two games of a second-round meeting with the Penguins, then ran off four consecutive victories to advance to the conference final.

Both goalies, Marc-Andre Fleury of the Penguins and Philadelphia's Ilya Bryzgalov, produced some exceptional stops. They just didn't make enough of them as the Flyers beat Fleury seven times on 30 shots and the Penguins put five of 28 past Bryzgalov.

Trading goals with the Flyers hadn't been part of the game plan, but this one took on a last-shot-wins feel almost from the time Sidney Crosby staked the Penguins to a 1-0 lead by scoring off a Steve Sullivan feed 15 seconds into the game.

"It was a back-and-forth game, and they're a very talented group that knows how to score goals," Penguins center Jordan Staal said.

"We have to tighten our game up."

Still, the Penguins never trailed until third period. They actually had gone in front, 5-4, on a Tyler Kennedy backhander at 1:04 of the final period, but just 17 seconds later, Couturier turned a Ben Lovejoy turnover into the goal that pulled the Flyers even and triggered a run of four unanswered ones for Philadelphia.

"I feel horrible," Lovejoy said.

"That's a game that's going to stick with me for a long time. ... I tried to make the hard play, and hit him in the shaft [of his stick].

"It's my fault. I need to make a smarter play. I ended up being the difference in the game. It was my fault."

Perhaps that goal was, but there was plenty of other blame to go around. Like to the Penguins power play, which scored twice on four tries, but offset those goals by allowing the Flyers to score a pair while being a down a man.

The power play made it 2-0 at 9:27 of the first, as Chris Kunitz steered in a James Neal feed, breaking a streak of 36 consecutive futile power plays on home ice in the postseason.

Philadelphia, though, got a short-handed goal from Talbot at 12:44, just 21 seconds after Bryzgalov made a spectacular glove save on Kris Letang.

The Penguins got that one back -- and from a most unlikely source -- with 17.2 seconds to go before intermission, as Paul Martin scored from the slot. It was his first goal on home ice since joining the Penguins last season.

Giroux made it 3-2 with a power-play goal at 5:11 of the second and added a short-handed goal at 11:04.

Kunitz countered for the Penguins six seconds later, only to have Couturier hoist the Flyers into another tie with 2.8 seconds to go before the second intermission.

After Kennedy gave the Penguins a short-lived lead, the Flyers took control of the game. And the series.

"It's a good team over there," Staal said. "We're a good team, as well.

"We have to keep moving forward. We're going to find a way to win one of these games."

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For more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Dave Molinari: dmolinari@post-gazette.com and Twitter @molinaripg. First Published April 14, 2012 8:15 PM


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