The Penguins and Flyers engaged in the most frantic 60 minutes of playoff hockey in recent memory. They traded goals, chances, hits and momentum like a heavyweight bout.
But in the end, it was the Flyers who skated away with an 8-5 victory at CONSOL Energy Center Friday night to take a 2-0 series lead as the action shifts to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4.
"We're down 2-0 and both were hard fought games," head coach Dan Bylsma said. "It's been crazy situations. ... It was a back-and-forth game. Bottom line is that they won two games. They came into our building and won those games. Now it's us going to Philly and looking for our first win in Philly on Sunday."
"It's a good team over there. We're a good team as well," center Jordan Staal
said. "We're going to keep moving forward. We'll find a way to win one of these games. It'll be a big one the next one. We're going to keep playing as hard as we have been. We're going to get that bounce and find a way to win."
The game was a free for all from the moment the puck dropped. Just 15 seconds after the opening faceoff, the Penguins caught the Flyers in a line change and Sidney Crosby
connected to stake out a 1-0 Pittsburgh lead.
And from there, craziness ensued.
The game featured 13 total goals, two hat tricks, three goals scored in the final 20 seconds of a period, the teams twice trading goals less than 20 seconds apart, three power-play goals, two shorthanded goals, 59 shots, 74 hits and enough back-and-forth action to cramp your neck.
Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux scored three goals and six points and 19-year-old rookie Sean Couturier added three goals and an assist to lead the offensive outburst for the Flyers. Chris Kunitz
scored two man-advantage goals (his first career two-goal game in the playoffs), Crosby tallied two points (1G-1A) and Pascal Dupuis
, James Neal
and Evgeni Malkin
each posted two assists for Pittsburgh.
The Penguins have lost the first two home games of a playoff series only one time in franchise history. That was the 1996 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Washington. Pittsburgh won the next four games to win that series.
The last two times the Penguins found themselves down 2-0 in a playoff series they came back to win each in seven games - both during the '09 Stanley Cup championship run (Washington, Detroit). Notes:
Crosby’s goal 15 seconds into the game tied a franchise record for fastest goal to start a playoff game (Greg Malone, April 8, 1981 at St. Louis). It was also Crosby’s 32nd career playoff goal, tying Ron Francis for fourth place in team history.