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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Flyers 8, Penguins 5


Looking ahead to faceoff …

Game: Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers, Game 2, Stanley Cup playoffs first round

Series: Flyers, 1-0.

Time: 7:38 p.m.

Site: Consol Energy Center

TV, radio: Root Sports, NBC Sports, 105.9 The X

Here is the official live summary.

Updates are on our Penguins page. I’ll be column-izing off this game, and we’ll have the usual Trib team on the scene, led by beat writer Josh Yohe.


  1. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    16 = CUP

    Go Pens!

  2. pghboyinca says:

    The season is on the line tonight, not sure if I want a fsat start. Seen that end in a disaster a few too many times. Steady, solid game with a 3-1 Pens victory would work.

  3. AJS says:

    Traveling this evening. Gonna have to catch it on the radio once I get to within radio range. Traveling back on Sunday. Sigh.

  4. AJS says:

    Saw a stat that said the Fly boys are 17-0 in series where they take a 2-0 lead. Must win right here.

  5. RobertoForever says:

    This game is as important as every other Game 2 in playoff hockey. I think there are 8 game 2’s to be played in this first round. Each one as important as the other.


  6. Leah Backus says:

    It is insanely ridiculous that a sporting event could make me this nervous.

  7. Poz says:

    I heard there might be an important game tonight somewhere? Anybody know about this rumor? I was just glancing today. Any news on Niskanen?

  8. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    The Pens need a good 7-1 rout.

    Crosby: Make it so.

  9. Craig Smith says:

    Niskanen is still out.

  10. Eric Bowser says:

    Women in my home are gone, went to mother-in-law’s… so son and I will be focused on pure hockey tonight. No distractions of Hello Kitty or Justin Bieber… tonight needs to be an aggressive man (Pens) against the boys (Flyers) performance at CEC.

    If the Penguins lose, series is virtually over.

    Bylsma needs to show he’s a playoff winning coach who is handling his team and not taking Therrien’s trained team to a Cup. He made one huge adjustment when taking over for the Pens that season, he removed the shackles and employed an aggressive puck pursuit attack.

    If the PP doesn’t change, if the systematic attack doesn’t change.. then the hot seat is on fire.

  11. Poz says:

    I’m unplugging the computer and relocating to the man cave with a bottle of wine. I’m like Eric. The wife is out doing some good deed (argument can be made that giving me my liberty card is indeed an act of mercy). I’ll have the TV fired up and bottle uncorked when the puck is dropped.

  12. Eric Bowser says:

    3 keys to victory for the Penguins

    1. Win the special teams battle
    2. Don’t let up, play aggressive for 60 minutes
    3. Manage the puck better

    Let’s Go Pens!

  13. Poz says:

    In today’s sports, armchair’ers like me, can try to complicate things. But what the Pens need to do tonight is not complicated. The question is whether the team (coaching staff too) has the discipline and confidence to do it.

  14. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Watch tonight for the Flyers to dump the puck to force Letang to go back and play it, slowing his break-out game.

  15. Eric Bowser says:

    Penguins are going with the same lineup as game 1.

    Sullivan – Crosby – Dupuis
    Kunitz – Malkin – Neal
    Cooke – Staal – Kennedy
    Asham – Vitale – Adams

    Orpik – Michalek
    Martin – Letang
    Lovejoy – Engelland


  16. Poz says:

    Eric, #2 of your list is the big one (for me). Momentum is great when you have it, but difficult to get back once you give it away to another talented team.

  17. Eric Bowser says:

    oh yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    15 freaking seconds! Crosby on a give and go! 1-0, Pens!

  19. Poz says:

    Well, Flyers have em right where they want em! What a beautiful sight when the Pens have time and space.

  20. Eric Bowser says:

    Right off faceoff, Penguins rush up ice and a sweet give-n-go from Crosby to Sullivan, back to Crosby for a one-timer that Bryzgalov has NO chance to stop.

  21. Poz says:

    Pens will get their share of chances as the Flyers press the Pens in their own end.

  22. Poz says:

    Crosby may need oxygen. He is playing nuts so far. Get the Malkin line going……

  23. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    1. 00:15 Crosby (Sullivan, Dupuis)

  24. Eric Bowser says:

    First tv timeout, Penguins are hitting, skating all over, and lead 1-0.

  25. Poz says:

    Dupius with a great chance – missed the net.

  26. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Penalty: Grossman 2:00 Hooking at 9:34

  27. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    GOAL Kunitz (Neal, Letang)

  28. Milo Hamilton says:

    That ties a Penguins record for fastest goal to start a playoff game. Also done by Greg Malone vs. St. Louis in 1981. The goalie ? Mike Liut.

  29. Eric Bowser says:


    2-0 Pens

    No Crosby on PP

    Letang keeps puck in, Neal sweeps into LW slot, goes for Kunitz for one timer and deflection slips through Bryzgalov.

    Did I mention, no Crosby

  30. Poz says:

    Now the Flyers really have them where they want them! Short, crisp passing and shoot the puck. Flyers did this last game – called a time out – and responded. Get the next goal and bury these guys.

  31. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    2. 9:28 PP Kunitz (Neal, Letang)

  32. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Flyers get physical. Pens respond.

  33. Eric Bowser says:

    Get the puck deep, manage the puck, manage the momentum and skate, skate, skate.

  34. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Correction: Penalty was at 8:34 of 1st period.

  35. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Penalty: Grossman 2:00 for holding Neal @ 10:55

  36. Poz says:

    What a save by Bry

  37. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    What a save by Bryzgalov> Unbelievable.

  38. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Talbot scores shorthanded to make it 2-1 Pens

  39. Poz says:

    You simply cannot allow that.

  40. Eric Bowser says:

    and that’s why Crosby shouldn’t be on blue line and Martin pinching like that on PP… too many quality chances against and now 2-1 lead on Talbot SH goal.

  41. Eric Bowser says:

    Letang waited too long to shoot puck on that outstanding save by Bryzgalov.

    And in typical NHL fashion, Flyers initiate contact after whistle hitting Letang and yet, Letang is sent off for a penalty as well. Stupidity in action by NHL officials.

  42. Poz says:

    Pens never recovered after losing momentum in game one. Can they buck up and get this crucial next goal?

  43. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Crushing hit by Letang on Rinaldo

  44. Poz says:

    Keep hitting them to regain momentum.

  45. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Paul Martin! 3-1 Pens!!!!!

  46. RobertoForever says:

    Is it just me or is Philly employing the slew foot regularly in this game?

    And sorry, but if you want to clean up the cheap slashes and cross checks, there is no way the ref can call offsetting minors on Letang and the Flyer. That Flyer skated 20 feet to get to Letang 5 seconds after the whistle blew and clearly cross checked him. That should have gotten an extra minor.

    I know the Pens are not angels, but I have not seen a single example of anything close to a slew foot by the Pens.

  47. Naje says:

    Paul Martin — The Pens’ version of Pedro Alvarez… overpaid and nothing to show for it. That’s a AAA player if I’ve ever seen one.

    Until just a minute ago, that is.

  48. Poz says:

    Now and I say now, the Flyers have them where they want them. Martin goal, but Crosby is insane. And props to Dupuis as well.

  49. Eric Bowser says:

    Crosby and Dupuis work their magic, sweet drop by Sid to Martin with screens in front of Bryzgalov and puck has eyes for the net to make it 3-1 with 17 seconds to go in 1st period.

  50. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    19:42 Martin (Crosby)

  51. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Add assist to Dupuis

  52. Eric Bowser says:

    Bylsma made some nice adjustments in game two’s first period but the key is how the team prepares for the second period. Pens have to manage the puck better than they did in the last five minutes of first period.

  53. Poz says:

    If the Pens play as aggressive in the next two periods then there is no reason they should not win….unless Fleury plays like me.

    I agree with Eric (not good for your E) that Bylsma will play perhaps the most important part in whether the Pens win this game.

  54. Karen22 says:

    SIXTY minutes tonight, boys! SIXTY!

  55. likeabugonarug says:

    I’m stuck listening to the fly’s coverage, but I think I have to agree that Letang deserved a diving on that. Yes, he was cross-checked, but did you see his head snap back? The cross-check wasn’t that bad. Yes, deserving of a penalty(whether CSN Philly thinks so or not), but Letang did embellish it big time, IMO.

    Now, did ROOT ever show an overhead replay? Cuz we never got one on this side of the state. Would love to know how far into the net Bryz’ glove hand went to get Letang’s shot. It sure looked worth a review!

  56. Eric Bowser says:

    Yes, overhead had partial glove in the net but you can never see the puck…. though it was a quick overhead and not slowed down and zoomed in.

  57. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Flyer penalty to Rinaldo for hooking at 1:53

  58. Poz says:

    @ Like. I don’t get Root during the playoffs here in MD. NBC is carrying it. But I saw the overhead. I can see why it was not called a goal.

  59. Poz says:

    Bry keeping them in it. Don’t press and get caught.

  60. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Giroux cuts Pens lead to 3-2

  61. Eric Bowser says:

    Orpik… terrible

  62. scapper says:

    Does anyone remember that one time….you know, that one time Staal didn’t get tossed from the faceoff? Hilarious how often it happens.

  63. Eric Bowser says:

    Pens defense is falling apart

  64. Milo Hamilton says:

    It’s Or-Peck.

  65. Eric Bowser says:

    Power Play coming up has to score, need to get back to 2-goal lead. Too much momentum has been gained by Philadelphia in this period.

  66. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Pens failing on defense miserably. 3-3 as Giroux scores another shorthander

  67. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Pens answer quickly! Kunitz just seconds later

  68. Eric Bowser says:

    awesome response by Pens, Malkin easy entry into zone, Neal shot, Kunitz rebound goal

  69. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    6 seconds between the goals

  70. Poz says:

    Nice – make that great – response. But the Pens have issues…

  71. JAL says:

    Two shorthanded goals that is poor play by the penalty team.

  72. Milo Hamilton says:

    Glad I had the over.

  73. Eric Bowser says:

    Penguins lead 4-3 but this period is a replay from game one. Terrible puck management, lazy support on PP, Pens PK is getting owned by Flyers PP, and Fleury isn’t making the big saves.

    Now Flyers go to PP on Letang penalty hitting puck over glass.

  74. Eric Bowser says:

    My body cannot stand this intense action for 7 games.

  75. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Neal mauls Schenn

  76. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Flyer knot the game with less than 3 seconds remaining in the period. UN believable.

  77. Poz says:

    Now we find out about the team we root for….

  78. Eric Bowser says:


    Unacceptable… Byslma once again doesn’t have a response in second period to change momentum by the Flyers. The same problems continue to happen to defensemen being forced to get the puck off the boards with forwards beyond the red line.

    I’m not a professional hockey scout but if I can see this problem, then so should everyone in the Penguins organization. The forwards needs to tighten their gap breaking out of the defensive zone and if the center swing is open, the defense needs to adjust and put it on the stick of their forward at center, not bouncing it off the boards.


  79. scapper says:

    I know it’s “only” five periods, but Philly just looks faster, stronger and more driven on every shift. Impressive stuff.

  80. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    What is the answer for a porous defense?

  81. Eric Bowser says:

    Dave G – It is quite simple, your forwards stop cheating up the ice and swing to center of ice between high circle and blue line or blue line and red line, not this crap of the defensemen chipping the puck off the glass/boards and the counter-attack.

    It would also help that your defensemen like Martin would pay attention to his assignments (4th goal bad) or Orpik staying back and knowing the game situation. What a terrible decision by him to make a hit at that moment and it cost us the lead.

    Not impressed by the Penguins coaching staff at all

  82. Eric Bowser says:

    Pens must win this game, the next 20 minutes will define these playoffs.

  83. Poz says:

    And if the Pens lose this game and the series, then watch how many blame Fleury. I saw it after game one – Pens lost because of Fleury. And he was (IMO) the last person to blame.

    We learn about this Pens team (and its coaching staff) in this period.

  84. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Somehow, if it was that simple, I think they’d be doing it.

  85. Milo Hamilton says:

    This is not a must win. It would be nice …

  86. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Kennedy ! AMEN

  87. Eric Bowser says:

    5-4 Pens

    good shift to start by Crosby line, followed up by a rush up ice by Staal line, low backhand shot by Kennedy in high slot. Ugly bad goal.

  88. Poz says:

    Flyers have them…ok, I’m not saying it anymore. There is enough scoring to win….shut this game down now – Pens…

  89. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Flyers score. It never ends.

  90. Poz says:

    Ugly turnover…no excuse….

  91. Eric Bowser says:

    Dave G – Bylsma refuses to adjust his system, that’s why it won’t happen.

  92. Eric Bowser says:

    Another turnover by defense (Lovejoy) and Flyers tie it…. my gawd


  93. JohninOshkosh says:

    “Great balls of fire…this game may never end.”

  94. Milo Hamilton says:

    Entertaining America. Killing us, but entertaining America nonetheless.

  95. Milo Hamilton says:

    The whistle’s in the pocket.

  96. Eric Bowser says:

    Pens need better shifts by Malkin and Neal

  97. Milo Hamilton says:

    Would someone score a goal already. This is boring.

  98. Poz says:

    Pierre (lost last name) between the benches is at a loss to explain what the Pens are doing in their end. Nothing (so far) has changed since last game…they are defensive and quitting….right now…

  99. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    I’m thinking it’s time to uncage the ‘old’ Matt Cooke. We need someone to get under their skin.

  100. JohninOshkosh says:

    Eric said it the other night. I hate it when Pens games go into OT. And tonight that might mean 8-8 after 60.

    Go Pens-finish them off in reg

  101. Milo Hamilton says:


    Just call him Regis. He’s from Jersey.

  102. Eric Bowser says:

    Staal gets himself yanked from face-off and then blows clearing chance

  103. JohninOshkosh says:

    Eric, you should have visited your mother in law tonight.

  104. Eric Bowser says:

    John – LOL, soccer in the morning so I was saved tonight.

  105. Eric Bowser says:

    Peter Laviolette is taking Dan Bylsma to school, he’s making adjustments and getting his matchups against Crosby and Malkin

  106. Milo Hamilton says:

    1992 Patrick Finals – the Pens lost the 1st game at home to the Caps & trailed Game 2 6-5 late in the 3rd period. Randy Gilhen tied it with the goalie pulled & Kevin Stevens won it in OT 7-6. There’s the blueprint.

  107. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Anybody missing Mike Rupp right about now? Hal Gill? Rob Scuderi?

  108. JohninOshkosh says:

    Dejan better open a fresh thread for Saturday morning. Have a feeling there will be a few posts after this one.

  109. MBS says:

    Maybe Pens need this to keep up offensive push to tie it and have momentum for OT. Flyers have been sloppy on D at times as well.

  110. Milo Hamilton says:

    Sorry, that was 1991. The 1st cup year.

  111. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:


  112. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Giroux 6 points.

  113. bob hasis says:

    Just checked my sports calendar; the next important date is April 26 when the pro football draft takes place. I can’t imagine anything of importance happening before then.

    Eager to see who the Steelers draft

  114. MBS says:

    When is the last time anyone talked about Shero looking for a stay at home defenseman at the trade deadline? All the focus the last couple of years for a scoring winger and they can’t play D.

  115. Karen22 says:

    Did not expect this. Pathetic. Where are the Pittsburgh Penguins??

  116. MBS says:

    I’m still going to predict they even it up 2-2.

  117. florida Steeler says:

    Bylsma needs to be fired. Laviolette fires his players up during a time out and Bylsma stands there looking like a mortician while the assistant talks to them.
    Baloney about the talent. Philly is the better team and much better coached.

  118. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    There needs to be an award for Best Coach in the playoffs. Give it to Laviolette NOW.

  119. Vince says:

    Missing Matt Niskanen

  120. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Such hate for Blysma…why?? Would you rather have John Russell??

  121. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    The Flyers are letting the Pens stretch pass, forcing them to the boards, and then taking advantage of the extra room in the middle with their transition game to exploit an inferior defense who are largely caught up the ice trying to get involved in the offense.

  122. MBS says:

    Come on guys . . . Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? They are good enough to turn this thing around, especially away from home.

  123. MBS says:

    Bylsma postmortem conference is difficult to listen to.

  124. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Germans? Pearl Harbor?

  125. likeabugonarug says:

    Animal House, right?

  126. likeabugonarug says:

    I’m sure Bylsma right now is frustrated because he doesn’t know what to do. And I don’t mean that as a knock against him, but a what do I have to do to get them to play smart? Hopefully going on the road will help this team. Wasn’t it the last time the fly’s beat the Pens in the playoffs that the Pens jumped out to a 2-0 series lead in Philly only to see the flys win the next 4? 5 overtime game anyone? Will never give up hope that we can pull this out until we lose the 4th. GO PENS!

  127. Deb says:

    I;ve been saying for weeks that the Pens style of play with Malkin/Neal/Kunitz is the Caps made over. They are fun to watch during regular season, but will not win a Stanley Cup. Malkin’s style of play wins personal trophys, not team trophys. Just ask Ovie.

  128. Eric Bowser says:

    If I’m coaching this team, I make the following changes

    1) Lineup changes: Asham and Vitale out, Park and Jeffrey in. Engelland and Lovejoy out, Despres and Niskanen in. If Niskanen can’t go, then Strait.

    2) D Pairings: Orpik-Letang, Martin-Michalek, Despres-Niskanen/Strait

    3) System Changes: The stretch pass is gone, Olczyk was fired because of it and others dumb things like it. The last month has proven the play just doesn’t work if your defensemen can’t make a pass through checkers closing off the boards. Forwards need to come back on the back check and not cheat up the ice before full possession outside of the blue line is established on the breakout. It would help if the center would swing through the defensive zone between the circles to middle of ice at blue line to give the defensemen a better option of clearing zone or moving the puck up the ice than opting to just simply skip puck off boards/glass. Puck possession can’t happen if you don’t have the puck and each second and third period during these first two games has been about owning the puck and flow of the game.

  129. IMO, Fleury does have some blame in how these games go. I don’t know how many times I have noticed during the season that when a period is under a minute and at times only second away from ending he will give up weak cheap goals. He also has a very bad tendency to not better control his rebounds by freezing the pucks. The Flyers had a couple very nice and easy rebounds to plug home tonight. Clearly he was played too much during the long winning streak and is probably worn out.

    As for the other yahoos on the ice, they really need to start hitting people that are freely skating in front of the goalie looking for a nice pass for their teammate to drive home. The Pens also need to find someone to actually sit down in front of their goalie at times to shield him. The Flyers goalie for most of the second half of the game was getting easy looks at whatever trash the Pens were throwing at them. If the Pens can’t win at least one game in Philly, then this series is definitely done for.

  130. Tim says:

    No defense. None. They are just dominating us offensively. Quite frankly, the Pens must play two deep, one back at all times. There back check is a step behind and inevitably the man with the puck, stops, waits for the trail man to catch up, who is wide open as usual, and next thing you know they have a guy cruising, uncontested down the slot. It leaves Fleury always having to make an outstanding save. This D only have eyes forward and it leaves them vulnerable to quick out lets. I have no idea how to fix it. It’s been going on a month.

  131. Scott says:

    Anyone calling for Despres and Strait at this point immediately forfeits the right to offer analysis of the sport of hockey for the next five years. Seriously. Taking two rookies who’ve barely played at the NHL level and dressing them in the postseason against the second-highest-powered offense in the league would be suicide. If the Penguins are going to get back in this series, it will happen because their forwards buckle down on defense and Martin and Niskanen (and Fleury) regain the form they showed during the 11-game winning streak. Sorry, that’s our only hope.

    DK: As you’ll see in my Saturday column, Scott, I’ve been calling for Despres to be up for quite a while, but I’ll agree with you that it’s too late to try that now.

  132. Eric Bowser says:

    Scott – What’s the difference between Bylsma not trusting Lovejoy-Engelland and giving two youngsters the ice time? I don’t think Lovejoy is healthy and Engelland is a turnstile against the speed of the Flyers.

  133. Craig Smith says:

    Luckily for us, Eric, you’re not coaching the team, otherwise you would’ve noticed that Asham, Adams and Vitale are hardly playing anyways, so it’s irrelevant who is on the 4th line when they’re not getting any ice time anyways…

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