NHL roundup: Crosby nets 3 as Penguins roll

Understanding the opposition Breaking down the Penguins and key strategic decisions facing the Flyers

That was how I felt. The Penguins killed off the penalty and maintained their five-goal lead. He got yanked at the 9:01 mark of the middle stanza after allowing five goals on 19 shots.

The eye test: Elliott has not looked close to his old self since he returned from missing almost two months following core-muscle surgery. But coming back with Moose when he was coming off the injury, he's our guy.

Brian Elliott looked like the goalie from Calgary in Game 1.

"We wouldn't be here if it weren't for Moose", defenceman Andrew MacDonald said.

The Flyers came out flat and never posed a serious threat as they struggled in the first game on the road.

In closing the season at 12-7-1, the Sharks' 25 points ranked in a tie for 10th among National Hockey League teams since the trade deadline.

Perhaps the most notable new playoff team is the Las Vegas Golden Knights - the first expansion team in 38 years to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs in their inaugural season.

The Flyers this season are 0-3-2 against Pittsburgh and have been outscored by the Penguins this season 27-11, including Wednesday night's debacle. Instead of looking like a team that some considered one of the hottest in the National Hockey League to end the regular season after winning four of their final five games, the Flyers looked more like a team that should be watching the playoffs from home during their first meeting with the Penguins. "You have to go to the net this time of year, that's usually where the pucks are". It doesn't work that way, especially at this time of the year.

The Penguins are in the Flyers' heads. Conversely, the Flyers had few quality scoring chances and had little traffic in front of goalie Matt Murray (24 saves), and most of their shots came from the outside. And yes, we know Sidney Crosby notched a hat trick and his team scored a touchdown and kicked the extra point in their 7-0 victory. Elliott said afterwards the whole team must be better for the Flyers to compete against their in-state rivals.

"I don't care who is in the net". The Penguins have been a very good scoring team at home and if the Flyers hope to steal one here, then they will need their offense to step up.

"When you give away the puck at crucial moments on the ice, they're going to torch you -and they did", winger Wayne Simmonds said.

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No matter how long the series goes, the Philadelphia Flyers are in for a marathon.

"It was one game". But, just as Crosby and the Penguins bring out the emotions in Flyers fans, they also get under the skin of the players.

Sidney Crosby saw Jakub Voracek's glove on the ice and wasn't going to let his opponent pick it up easily.

Hakstol was surprised that the Flyers looked jittery in the opener.

"I don't think there's ever been a love lost between Toronto and Boston or Montreal and Boston or Philadelphia and Pittsburgh", Laviolette said. If you don't have a team to watch this postseason, I'd recommend following this series closely. "So for us it's just a motivation". Vegas just formed a team this year by getting players from teams that wanted to get rid of someone.

If Nashville continues its dominant style of play into Game 1, it is going to have no problem dealing with Colorado's top-heavy attack led by Nathan MacKinnon. They were on it.

In Game 2, the Flyers need to have a better forecheck, must slow down the Penguins in the neutral zone, and improve their defensive gaps, MacDonald said.

Playoff series in back-to-back years made the Penguins and Washington dislike each other plenty, and they'd meet again in the second round if they advance this year. "We've had some ups and downs, but in the room we've managed to stay on an even keel".

Some things to look for as Philadelphia tries to put an abrupt end to Pittsburgh's bid at winning a fourth Cup during the Crosby Era.

"We talked about it after the game". Coach Mike Sullivan clearly knows how to pull the right levers, and the Pens are practically old hands at this whole championship thing.

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