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Insider Only Game 2 Analysis: Brian Elliott, Special Teams & Momentum Swings

Flyers 5 – Penguins 1

(Series Tied, 1-1)

Penguins – Flyers is all tied up as the series shifts to Philadelphia Sunday afternoon.

Brian Elliott stopped 34 of 35 shots and the Flyers turned the tables on Pittsburgh with a 5-1 win in Game 2 to tie the series at 1-1.

“Said it coming in, nobody really is giving us a serious chance in this series,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. “I don’t Know if anybody still will. But I know this, we just it down to a five game series and we introduced ourselves into this series tonight.”

The Penguins 7-0 win in Game 1 was so impressive and spelled so much trouble for the Flyers because of how Pittsburgh excelled in  possessing of a number of matchup problems, that in reality Philadelphia’s only answer to some of them is getting great goaltending.

Well the Flyers got exceptional goaltending from Brian Elliott who entered Game 2 and we have a series for now.

The Flyers played much better in Game 2, they were much more effective in pressuring the Penguins ‘D’ on the forecheck, they got to the dirty areas more effectively, creating traffic on their first two goals of the game and the intensity the Flyers brought to the table saw Pittsburgh take some bad penalties when there was still a lot of time for a comeback.

“We played our asses off,” Hakstol said of his team, after admitting some players had nerves in Game 1.

The Flyers, though, coming out of Game 2 with a 5-1 win was more about two factors than the Flyers outplaying Pittsburgh at 5-on-5, which didn’t happen, as the Penguins controlled the flow of play.


Brian Elliott and Special Teams.

Game 1 was Sidney Crosby > Brian Elliott

Game 2 was Brian Elliott > Sidney Crosby.

As the Penguins were peppering the Flyers in the second period while trailing 2-0, Crosby was inches away from taking over the game on multiple occasions but Elliott and some puck luck for the Flyers won out.

How close was Sidney Crosby from changing the game?

Crosby hit a post, was stopped on a breakaway and then missed a wide open net in the waning seconds of the second period. Crosby scores on any of those situations, we might be talking about the Penguins being up 2-0 than the series tied 1-1.

“If I find a way to put that one in, it’s 2-1, it’s a different game,” Crosby said. “So that one and the breakaway was the big turning point in the game.”


Mike Sullivan cited the obvious post-game in that special teams was the difference.

“Special teams was the difference in the game,” Sullivan said.

While the Flyers went 2-3 on the power play, Philadelphia on the penalty kill was even more impressive where they boxed the Penguins power play out effectively in forcing the Penguins to play with the puck up high.

Justin Schultz never looked comfortable running the point as Philadelphia took away the shooting lanes.

Pittsburgh was 0-4 on the power play and managed just three shots.

“I don’t think we shot the puck enough tonight,” said Sullivan.

With the Penguins struggling to work the puck down low for high quality chances, the coaches started moving Evgeni Malkin around to the left side to play the distributor role Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com