Flyers' early push wasn't enough to top Penguins in NHL playoffs

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) blocks the puck in front of goaltender Matt Murray during the third period of Pittsburgh’s 5-1 win Sunday.

Like a boxer, the Pittsburgh Penguins took the Flyers’ best punches in the opening period Sunday at the then-percolating Wells Fargo Center.

They brushed them aside and took control of the game in the second period en route to a 5-1 win, giving Pittsburgh a two-games-to-one lead in a strange series — each team has taken a turn winning by a lopsided margin — that resumes Wednesday.

The Flyers had a huge territorial advantage and an 11-4 shots edge in the first period, but left the ice facing a 1-0 deficit.

“You have to give the Flyers a lot of credit; they came out in the first period and had a really strong start,”  Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said, “and I thought Sid was a big reason that our team settled down.”

Sullivan was referring to Sidney Crosby, who scored on a wraparound midway through the first to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

“He has that ability to just stay in the moment. He doesn’t get rattled, he doesn’t get fazed by any of the adversity or anything that a high-stakes environment might present to other players,” Sullivan said. “He just thrives on it, and that’s why he’s the elite player he is.”


Are the Flyers cooked in their first-round playoff series against the Penguins?

After Crosby’s goal, the Flyers had numerous first-period chances, but goalie Matt Murray had all the answers. Earlier, with the game scoreless, he made a glove save on Nolan Patrick’s breakaway.

“Their crowd was very loud and rowdy, so we did a good job there,” Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin said about surviving the Flyers’ first-period surge. “… Obviously, Murray saved us. We stuck with our game plan. We didn’t try to do it individually. I thought that was the key there, especially in the first period.”

A matter of seconds

Pittsburgh equaled a Stanley Cup playoff record by scoring two second-period goals five seconds apart.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the quickest two goals ever scored against the Flyers in the regular-season or the playoffs.

It surpassed the two goals scored six seconds apart, both by Chicago’s Jim Pappin, in a game against the Flyers on Feb. 16, 1972.


In the three playoff games, Crosby (four goals, three assists) and Evgeni Malkin (two goals, one assist) have combined for 10 points — seven more than the total for Claude Giroux (one assist) and Jake Voracek (two assists). Giroux had 10 shot attempts (four on goal) Sunday. … Sean Couturier played a game-high 26 minutes, 18 seconds. … The Penguins won 53 percent of the faceoffs. … Sullivan: . “I thought Matt Murray was out best penalty killer tonight.” Murray stopped all 11 power-play shots. The Penguins had three goals on nine power-play shots. .. There is a chance Michal Neuvirth will be ready to play Wednesday, but Brian Elliott is expected to get the start. … The Flyers will not practice Monday and will be back on the ice at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Voorhees. … The Penguins returned to Pittsburgh after the game.