Thoughts, musings and observations from the Penguins' 5-1 loss to the Flyers in Game 2.
* After scoring 7 goals in Game 1, the Pens got on the board just once in Game 2, but it certainly wasn't for lack of trying. The Pens had a ton of chances throughout the game, hitting three posts, but just struggled to convert. Sidney Crosby was the most snake-bitten, getting stopped on a breakaway and then missing a wide-open net on the power play that had him breaking his stick on the crossbar in anger. It's tough not to get frustrated, but the positive is that the chances were there.
If any of those go in, it's a different game, as the Pens put forth an overall solid performance. They probably deserved better than they got. As Mike Sullivan said, there were a lot of parts of the game they liked, they just couldn't seem to find the back of the net.
* That missed net came on the power play, which struggled for a second straight game. The first unit wasn't happy with its performance on Wednesday, and said they needed to be better tonight. "You're not always going to score, obviously that's always the goal, but if you're not, you want to make sure that you're executing and generating chances and momentum," Crosby said.
They weren't able to improve on that tonight, as the Flyers kept them from creating a lot of life on the man-advantage. They were smothering and aggressive and didn't allow them to get set up, getting clear after clear and even causing the fans to start booing at certain points. And when the Pens did get set up, they tried to force plays and didn't shoot nearly enough. Crosby's chance was about the only real opportunity the Pens had. The Pens need their NHL-best power play to start being just that in this series.
* Overall, the Flyers won this game on the strength of their special teams. After their power play also struggled on Wednesday - with the Pens actually outshooting them 2-0 during their four opportunities - it came up clutch tonight. Shayne Gostisbehere and Nolan Patrick helped the Flyers go 2-for-3 on the man-advantage.
* Their tallies were clutch and timely, as Gostisbehere's score came with 36.9 seconds left in the first - ending Matt Murray's franchise-long playoff shutout streak at 225:49 minutes. Sean Couturier followed that up by scoring just 47 seconds into the second, and Travis Konecny capped it off 1:29 into the third. Those are tough goals to give up. The Flyers were also lucky, scoring on a couple of fortuitous bounces. Especially Couturier. He put a puck on net that rolled up Murray's stick and off of Letang and into the back of the net.
* Elliott had a nice bounce-back effort after allowing all seven goals in Game 1. He looked somewhat shaky to start, but thanks to some help from his posts, he was able to settle in and shut it down the rest of the way. He came up with some real big saves throughout the course of the game, most notably the breakaway stop on Crosby.
* The play of rookie Zach Aston-Reese was a positive from the game. He was a factor at both ends of the ice, breaking up scoring plays and creating at the other end. He kept getting bumped up for his efforts, moving to the third line and then seeing some time along Crosby later in the game.
* There was a scary play in the second period when Claude Giroux collided with Letang on a questionable play that Crosby felt was a high hit. The defenseman got up sprinted down the runway to the locker room. Thankfully, he was able to return for the third and play the rest of the game.