PHILADELPHIA – The Penguins are coming back strong.
The team will return to Mellon Arena on Sunday in an attempt to close out its Eastern Conference Finals series against the Flyers.
Even though Philadelphia won Game 4 on home ice, 4-2, the Penguins sent a message with their furious third-period comeback.
“Definitely. We have to take the positives out of that,” Penguins forward Maxime Talbot said. “We showed a lot of character and came back in the second half of the game. That’s the momentum we need to have to win at home.
“We have been pretty good at home since the beginning of the playoffs. We know what it takes to win that fifth game. We want to finish it at home.”
He’s right. The Penguins are 7-0 on home ice in the postseason – a franchise record for consecutive wins in one playoff year. The previous mark of six was set in 1992 as the Penguins won their last six home games of those playoffs en route to the Stanley Cup.
Overall, this Penguins squad has won 15-straight home games and is 16-0-2 in its last 18 home contests. The Penguins’ last home loss came nearly three months ago – Feb. 24 against San Jose in a shootout, 2-1.
“Yeah, we would have liked to, obviously, close out the series. You want to win every game,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “But, you know, they had a good first period, and we didn't. And that was really the difference. We fought hard in the second and third, but it was just too little too late.”
The Penguins aren’t panicking because they suffered only their second loss of the playoffs. They dropped Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Rangers and bounced back to claim Game 5.
“It’s just one game and we have to learn from it,” Penguins winger Jarkko Ruutu said. “We’ve been in this situation before and we learned from it. It’s no different this time.”
The Flyers, trying to stave off elimination, scored three first-period goals to take control of the contest.
“We expected them to come back and play desperate and they did. You have to give them credit. They played pretty well. They got a break on the first goal, but they have been playing pretty well and putting a lot of pressure on us,” Talbot said. “On the other side, we came back and battled hard. We’ll take that with us and come back home for Game 5.
“We just have to regroup. We got good momentum. In the second half of the game, we played pretty well. We have to build on that and battle hard,” he continued. “You have to win four games. We have three; they have one. We’re going back home and we’ve been pretty good there. I think our group of guys is pretty confident for Game 5.”