Hey Flyers fans, back up from the ledge of the Walt Whitman Bridge.
Breathe in, and then exhale.
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Everything is going to be alright.
Yes, we know the Flyers were single-handily obliterated by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday in the opening game of Stanley Cup Playoffs. 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.
However, it is only one game. With a win in Game 2 on Friday, the Flyers can tie the series – and even steal home-ice advantage in the process.
Sure, it may seem like there’s a better chance of Crosby getting lost on his drive to PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh than the Flyers returning to Philly with a victory but the scenario is not as far-fetched as you may believe.
The Flyers just need to improve in some – OK, tons – of areas. Here are a few of them.
This is the understatement of the year, right? The Flyers allowed two goals in the first 10 minutes and looked like a team that was certainly not ready for primetime. From the opening faceoff, they need to tighten up defensively, stop turning the puck over at the blue line or in their own zone and get a couple big stops by their goalie. Which leads us to …
Brian Elliott has been pretty dependable all year, but he hasn’t looked like himself in three starts since returning from a core muscle injury that sidelined the goalie for nearly two months. He either returned too soon or is struggling to shed the rust because he has been severely exposed. Elliott, or back up Petr Mrazek, who relieved Elliott in the second period, need to make some timely stops.
Better play from their superstars
Remember that guy who cracked the century mark for points in a season and will receive serious consideration for MVP this year? The Flyers need him, and badly. Claude Giroux was an uncharacteristic minus-4 and played one of his worst games of the season. Expect a rebound game from the captain, who wasn’t the only culprit as Sean Couturier (-4) and Shayne Gostisbehere (-4) played just as poorly.
Better power play
Not only did the Flyers go 0-for-4 with the man-advantage, it didn’t even look like they were the ones with the extra player on the ice most of the time. They need more, and accurate, puck movement, shots to reach the net and create extra traffic in front of goalie Matt Murray.
Better … everything
Look, the Flyers probably can’t play much worse and the Penguins can’t play much better.