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Flyers 'have to be better' against Penguins in Game 2

Coach points out breakdowns that led to Philadelphia's lopsided loss in playoff opener

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- It was the final thing Philadelphia Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said Thursday. It was also the most succinct way of summarizing why his team lost 7-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round on Wednesday.

"We just had too many holes," Hakstol said. "You have holes in your game and that team is going to drive a truck through them."

To close the holes and avoid falling behind 2-0 in the best-of-7 series, the Flyers must execute better and attack more in Game 2 at PPG Paints Arena on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, ATTSN-PT).

They did neither in Game 1. They broke down and sat back. The Penguins skated through them with ease and scored with skill, taking a 3-0 lead 14:09 into the game.

"It was pretty embarrassing," Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds said.

Video: Crosby notches hat trick, Pens rout Flyers in Game 1

Hakstol said he was targeting the one or two things that happened before each goal as the areas the Flyers have to clean up.

Here's a breakdown of the Penguins' first three goals to understand what Hakstol means:


Penguins' first goal: Bryan Rust scored 2:38 into the first period on a 38-foot short-side shot from the top of the left circle off a rebound.

Flyers' biggest mistake: They didn't pick up Penguins defenseman Kris Letang in the neutral zone, and it put them on their heels.

How it happened: The Flyers had the puck in deep, but Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin beat Flyers forward Michael Raffl to it. The Penguins moved the puck out of the zone and went through the neutral zone with speed. Letang went untouched through the middle, got the puck from forward Jake Guentzel and carried it across the blue line. Letang's shot from the top of the right circle went off goalie Brian Elliott's blocker. The rebound went to an uncovered Rust at the top of the left circle. He scored.

"They're a team that enters [the zone] very well through the middle," Hakstol said. "They've always got speed coming from in behind, so you have to deal with that. As soon as you allow bad gaps, time and space, they're a team that can make things happen. It starts there."

Penguins' second goal: Left wing Carl Hagelin scored on a deflection in the slot off a pass from right wing Patric Hornqvist at 10:07 of the first period.

Video: PHI@PIT, Gm1: Hagelin beats Elliott on deflection

Flyers' biggest mistake: They failed on four attempts to clear the puck once the Penguins entered the zone.

How it happened: The Penguins, with their fourth line on the ice against the Flyers' top line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Raffl, got the puck into the zone at 9:25, 42 seconds before Hagelin scored. The Flyers wilted under the Penguins forecheck, the worst instance coming when Couturier gloved the puck down, had it on his stick near the blue line, but had it whacked away by Hagelin, who had just come onto the ice on a partial line change. Hagelin darted to the net and scored.

"You give them back pucks in crucial zones of the ice and they're going to torch you, and they did," Simmonds said. "You give them two chances, they'll score two goals. You can't give them anything, because when they get something they usually put it in the back of the net."

Penguins' third goal: Evgeni Malkin scored on a solo rush at 14:09 of the first period, putting a backhand shot past Elliott 12 seconds after coming out of the penalty box.

Flyers' biggest mistake: They didn't generate on the power play, allowing Malkin to get a loose puck and skate toward Elliott untouched. Elliott never came out to challenge Malkin, giving him a better shooting angle.

How it happened: The Flyers didn't generate any shots on goal during the power play. With Malkin out of the box, the Flyers had a pass go untouched through the crease and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere's shot from the point was blocked by Hagelin. Malkin got to the puck after the block, one of 24 for Pittsburgh in the game, and started a rush that took him around Flyers forward Jakub Voracek, through Giroux and a backing-up Gostisbehere before he beat a flat-footed Elliott on the far side with a backhand shot from the right circle.

"With the speed of their game and the lack of time and space they allowed us last night, it comes down to execution," Hakstol said. "We've got to execute quicker and better."

They now know what can and likely will happen if they don't.

"Ugly," Giroux said.

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