Apr 13, 2012, 6:57 PM EDT
The Flyers’ resilience isn’t exactly news at this point. Including playoffs, they’ve won 21 games this season when their opponent scores first, and eight when trailing by two or more goals.
What’s interesting about that is comeback victories are becoming par for the course against the Penguins in particular.
In each of Philadelphia’s last three wins over Pittsburgh — and really the last three games against them that mattered — the Flyers have fought back from 2-0 deficits. Two of those were at the Consol Energy Center while we’re at it, where the Flyers have won six of seven since the building opened in 2010.
So they’re not just beating the Pens. They’re starting to demoralize them. But the Penguins don’t strike anybody as a team that’s going to get a head start on setting up tee times, do they?
There’s no denying Sidney Crosby and mates have experienced their share of high-pressure situations, and if you’re still not convinced Pittsburgh is dangerous, re-watch the first period from Wednesday night. Rest assured, they’ll throw everything they’ve got at the Flyers to avoid tumbling into a 2-0 hole.
Speaking of 2-0 holes, the white sweaters might want to avoid digging themselves into one on the scoreboard yet again, however unlikely that may be. One way Philly can avoid falling behind right off the bat is by using the familiarity of this opponent to their advantage to jump start their own offense started early.
If the Flyers can pick up where they left off in game 1 from the opening whistle tonight — dumping the puck deep inside Pittsburgh territory, controlling the board play, and letting their forwards out-physical Penguin defenders in front of the net — hell, they might just be able to light the lamp first for a change.
An early lead would help set the tone for Ilya Bryzgalov as well, who figures to be in for 60 minutes against a firing squad. These are the moments Bryz was brought here for though, and should he rise to the occasion the way we are coming to expect, it could pave the way to Flyers victory — as long as they still have Marc-Andre Fleury solved.
One note in front of Bryzgalov: Marc-Andre Bourdon is out with an upper-body injury, reentering Pavel Kubina into the lineup. The veteran and ’04 Cup Champion was a healthy scratch in favor of the rookie for game 1, so we’ll see how he responds to watching a tilt from the press box.
We’re being told the men in bear costumes are back in the building (no word on pretty, naked women), but pretty sure nobody is scared, not even Bryz now. Can the Flyers come home with a stranglehold on this series, or will the Penguins figure out how to play a full 60 against their cross-state rivals?
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