PITTSBURGH – If the lines and pairings used in practice Thursday are any indication, the Flyers will stick with the same lineup that suffered the most lopsided Game 1 loss in the franchise’s playoff history.
The Flyers were embarrassed by the Penguins, 7-0, on Wednesday. Game 2 is Friday at PPG Paints Arena.
At practice, coach Dave Hakstol made no changes, which is usually an indication of how the lineup will look the next night.
“He definitely believes in our group,” right winger Travis Konecny said, adding that the Flyers played well in their last two regular-season games with the combinations they used Wednesday. “It’s just one hiccup, one game. I think we’ll bounce back.”
“With one game like that, you don’t want to hit the panic button and kind of scramble things up,” defenseman Andrew MacDonald said. “Obviously, if by some chance it happened in multiple games, yeah, then maybe. But one game you don’t panic. It’s been working for us pretty well of late, and I think we’re just going to chalk that one up as a bad one for us and we move on to Game 2 and prepare accordingly.”
As is his custom, Hakstol wouldn’t announce his lineup. “Regardless of what our combinations were today in practice, we may or may not make lineup changes,” he said.
Konecny, the speedy winger who scored 20 goals in 41 games on the top line during the regular season, remained on the third line at practice.
Michael Raffl was still the right winger on the top line, which included Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux. That unit was a combined minus-11 in Game 1.
The Penguins’ top line — Sidney Crosby centering Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust – combined for five goals, eight points, and a plus-14 rating in Game 1. Two of their goals were against Couturier’s line.
“Whether it’s 7-0 or 1-0 in double overtime, it’s one game,” Crosby said. “A big part in the playoffs is to get better every game and adjust. That’s the way you have to look at it.”
According to Hockey-Reference.com, the 1953 Detroit Red Wings are the only team that failed to win a playoff series after winning Game 1 by seven goals. Detroit won the opener against Boston, 7-0, but lost the series in six games.
Backup goalie Michal Neuvirth said he was close to being able to play. He was back on the ice for the third time since his latest lower-body injury…Goalie Dustin Tokarski was sent back to the Phantoms…The Flyers have a 30-8 series record when winning Game 2, and an 8-24 mark when losing it…In games in which they allowed at least five goals this season, the Flyers went 7-5-2 in their next contest…Penguins goalie Matt Murray, who has not allowed a playoff goal in his last 206 minutes, 26 seconds, had a maintenance day and did not practice Thursday…Dating back to the regular season, the Penguins have killed 15 of their last 16 penalties. The Flyers had zero shots on all four power plays Wednesday…The Flyers will not have a morning skate Friday.