Maybe Peter Laviolette should start calling timeouts at the beginning of games.
The Flyers coach called a timeout after the Penguins jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first period of Game 1, and his team responded. The Flyers seemed more energized, more frenzied. In a midgame interview, Laviolette said his troops looked like a “deer in headlights.” While they won in OT to take a 1-0 series lead, these slow starts must stop.
The fans know it. Laviolette knows it. Most importantly, the players know it.
“To be honest, I thought we were lucky [Wednesday],” Kimmo Timonen told reporters. “Obviously, we didn’t start the way we wanted to start. Games are getting tighter and tighter, and we’ve got to find a way to get better starts.”
The Flyers have let the opposition score first in 11 of their last 13 contests. That’s bad enough. Worse yet, they have faced two-goal deficits in eight of their last 13 games.
“In the Stanley Cup playoffs, you’re not going to win a whole ton of games like that,” Wayne Simmonds said. “We’ve got to fix that. We’ve got to play desperate from the start.”
There’s no doubt the Penguins will come out desperate. Pittsburgh can’t afford to dig themselves into a 2-0 hole. On Thursday, many of the Penguins players blamed themselves for the loss by playing conservative hockey.
“We laid off the gas pedal and tried to protect the lead,” Penguins forward Steve Sullivan said.
If you thought Game 1 was good, stay tuned.