The wheels fell off Cinderella's cart and she didn't get home by midnight. The Pittsburgh Penguins' sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers that many analysts thought would happen in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series can't happen now. The magic slipper fell off the Penguins' bus coming down the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The things that worked so well for the Penguins in the first two games in Pittsburgh didn't work as well in their Game 3, 6-3 loss in Philadelphia. The teams play again Tuesday night at the Wachovia Center.
To a man, the Penguins didn't believe the Flyers planned anything different for this game but felt that the Flyers' aggressiveness, the Penguins' lack of discipline and focus, and a back-breaking shorthanded goal did them in. So there are no major strategic changes to institute for Tuesday. The thinking is they just need to play better.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby
thought his team lacked the discipline and focus present in the two wins in Pittsburgh.
"We got away from it a little bit, not for long periods of time, and it hurt us," Crosby said. "We made some mistakes. We gave up a goal on a power play and that's a tough one. They all add up in a tight hockey game like this. We could have done a little more on our power play. They have a strong penalty kill, but that's no excuse. … We have to have that click to be successful."
Goalies get a different perspective than their teammates, and Marc-Andre Fleury
noticed a difference from the vantage point of the Penguins' net.
"They shot more on net, got bodies to the net and got some goals on (special teams)," Fleury said. "That worked for them."
Fleury was in sync with his teammates in saying they just have to play their game better.
"We have to focus and play the way we played the first two games," Fleury said. "We have to not worry about tonight and forget about it as soon as possible. We'll be fine."
Right winger Petr Sykora, one of five Stanley Cup winners on the Penguins -- the Flyers have only one -- was frustrated by his team's willingness to trade face washes, elbows and punches in post-whistle scrums.
"We knew what they were going to do and we knew what we needed to do and we didn't do it," Sykora said. "They tried to suck us in and play their style, tried to get those scrums and little fights. That's the way they want to beat us and we got sucked into that tonight. For us to be successful, we have to play the way we did at home: change our lines, stay out of scrums, just keep coming at them. I feel that five-on-five, with our three lines, we are the better hockey club.
"We did a great job at home and won two hockey games and we got sucked in tonight and we lost."
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma thought special teams were the difference. Both teams had a power-play goal and the Flyers also got a shorthanded tally from Simon Gagne. But he wasn't divulging whether he'd make any changes for Tuesday.
"If you've been around for our press conferences before, every game, win or lose, is an evaluation, how we played, what we did well, what we can do better, and we will do the same thing after this game, getting ready for Tuesday's game," Bylsma said. "There are areas that we need to continue to focus on to do well. We need to get better in certain areas. We will address that and get ready for them Tuesday."
Author: John McGourty | NHL.com Staff Writer