Three keys for Penguins vs. Flyers in Game 2

Why NHL fans should let a popular Broadway song guide them through the playoffs

Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both connected for highlight-caliber goals, Kris Letang was assertive and aggressive, Derick Brassard and Jake Guentzel hooked up for a tic-tac-toe goal and Matt Murray shined when the game was still in the balance early.

They've got a great shot at it. The defensemen in front of Murray turned Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds into a bystander. Future Vezina Trophy victor Pekka Rinne was elite this season, their defence was once again top in the league thanks to P.K. Subban and Roman Josi and their offence is just good enough to finish in the top half of the league.

"For me, I've been here for a long time, this is a team and I'm rooting for them", he said.

That's exactly how Wednesday night's Game 1 went down as the Penguins skated off with an easier-than-expected 7-0 win.

Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins sent a message in their playoff opener.

His backup, Petr Mrazek, isn't much better against the Penguins. The Flyers played well down the stretch to get into the playoffs, but they showed in game one that they are just overmatched in this series, especially here at PPG PAINTS Arena.

Philadelphia returned to the playoffs this spring thanks in part to its resilience.

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Hakstol didn't commit to a Game 2 starter but said he is inclined to stick with the goalie the Flyers call Moose. Despite the dominant showing, Crosby made it clear he wasn't dwelling on the moment, preferring keep his eyes on the prize that now sits one victory closer than before. The Penguins have been a very good scoring team at home and if the Flyers hope to steal one here, then they will need their offense to step up.

Another loss would put Philadelphia in a perilous spot going home.

All indications are Brian Elliott will get the nod again in goal for the Flyers in Game 2.

The rest of the simulation has the remarkable story of the Vegas Golden Knights coming to an end, four games to two, to Winnipeg in the Western Conference semifinals. Good luck with that.

Unless they get a better effort from their defense or goaltenders, this will be a quick series. Those numbers aren't bad, but the task at hand is to win four games against the Predators without Semyon Varlamov in goal. If the Jets can do it twice in three days, they'll have firm control against sloppy Minnesota.

In the Eastern Conference, some of our staples for the past few years remain, while a few teams that have struggled recently are back in the playoffs: The Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and New Jersey Devils all missed the postseason last season. The Wild understand they need to be smarter in their own end.

"This is a record setting year for us as National Hockey League handle", Las Vegas Superbook's Jay Kornegay said Wednesday morning. "But it was a pretty even game after that".

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So much so that retired player and former Penguins coach Ed Olczyk said of Penguins-Flyers, "It only takes one player, one comment from somebody, where all bets are off and that gasoline tank will be ignited fairly quickly".

Could they pick it up in that area in the playoffs? "We had a lot of energy built off that". "It will definitely be an intense series, we know that".

The expansion Golden Knights looked every bit ready for the playoffs when they rode goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to a 1-0 victory in Game 1.

The other headline opening series in the West features the surprise of the season, the Vegas Golden Knights.

Look for Hakstol to add speed by inserting winger Jordan Weal back in the lineup Friday. "I'm not going to move away for sure from that, but I'm not making any lineup decisions or announcing any lineup decisions (Thursday)". That unit was a combined minus-11 in Game 1.

I have watched this replay numerous times and still can't really comprehend it. Crosby's tip so nonchalant and at such a weird angle, yet the velocity on the redirect is staggering and it's perfectly placed off the iron and in. With Hakstol, I'd expect the latter, but you certainly never know.

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