The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to bounce back from a rough loss in the opener of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, as they host the Philadelphia Flyers in tonight's Game 2 at Consol Energy Center.
The fourth-seeded Penguins jumped out to a great start in Wednesday's opener, taking a 3-0 lead into the first intermission, but the visiting Flyers scored four unanswered goals and eventually won the contest, 4-3, on Jakub Voracek's goal just 2:23 into overtime.
Voracek's game-winner came after some sloppy defensive play by the Penguins in front of their own net. Philadelphia defenseman Matt Carle attempted a centering feed from the left wing and the puck made it on goal. However, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang accidentally cleared the puck to the right side, where Voracek was alone to sweep it into an open net.
For the 22-year-old Czech, it was his first career playoff score and it helped give the Flyers the 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
"Even though it's almost impossible to come from that far behind, we knew we could do it," Voracek said. "We stuck to the game plan, came back. We had to wait it out, spend the energy for the whole 60 minutes. We came back against them three times already and it shows how hard we work for every goal."
Danny Briere scored twice and Brayden Schenn tied the game late in the third for the Flyers and also added two assists. It was the first time Philadelphia had won a playoff game when trailing 3-0 after one period of play.
"It took a lot of work to win this game. We can't dwell on it," Briere said. "You celebrate for a few minutes but we have to get ready for Game 2. We have a chance to take both here and then be up 2-0 coming into our building. We might as well go for it."
The game did not come without its share of controversy, as Briere's first goal of the contest came on a play where the Flyers' sniper was clearly offsides. Still, despite that lucky break, Briere once again proved himself as a playoff performer, as his two-goal night gives him 98 points in 98 career postseason games.
Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov shook off some early rust and earned the win with 25 saves.
Sidney Crosby, Tyler Kennedy and Pascal Dupuis lit the lamp in the opening 20 minutes for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury allowed four goals on 26 shots for the loss.
Evgeni Malkin, who led the NHL with 109 points during the regular season, was held off the scoresheet in Game 1.
Pittsburgh continued to struggle at home against the Flyers, who entered this series with a 5-1 all-time record at Consol Energy Center. Wednesday's game was Philadelphia's first playoff test at Pittsburgh's new building, which opened at the start of the 2010-11 campaign.
The Flyers hope to extend their success in Pittsburgh tonight and grab a 2-0 edge in the series ahead of Sunday's Game 3 in Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma would like his club to tie the series tonight and he thinks they can do so by sustaining the excellent start they had in Game 1.
"I'm not so sure the pace can't be sustained. It's a conscious decision with puck management to be able to play at that speed," Bylsma said. "We weren't as good as the game got later. It's not a matter of sitting back."
This series marks the sixth all-time playoff meeting between the Flyers and Penguins. Philadelphia won the first three matchups, but Pittsburgh has taken the last two postseason encounters, both of which came in the Crosby-Malkin era. The last series was in the opening round of the 2009 playoffs and Pittsburgh claimed that series in six games en route to a Stanley Cup title.