The Flyers have a penalty problem.
Through their first three playoff games, two of which they’ve lost by a combined score of 12-1, Philly has committed the most penalties in the entire Eastern Conference. In serving 46 minutes in penalties, Philly’s 17 violations have given their first round foes the Penguins the most time with a man advantage in the postseason.
And that’s not a recipe for success. The Penguins were the NHL’s best power play squad in hockey during the regular season and coverted three of six chances in Game 3’s 5-1 win. They have had 15 opportunities thus far in three games and the Flyers know it’s not a recipe for making a series comeback.
“They’re a fast team and if you’re catching up to them you’re going to have stick penalties and things like that,” Claude Giroux said Sunday. “It’s not time to panic here, we play Wednesday here our guys will be ready and we’re going to put this one behind us. We’ll do exactly what we did after game one, we’re going to look at what we did wrong and fix them.”
The Flyers were able to flip the script over the weekend in Game 2, winning 5-1 but they were able to succeed on the penalty kill. They were also skating better — and according to several players that could be the biggest tweek necessary to even the series back at 2-2.
“I think we gotta come more with speed like we did in game two,” Jake Voracek said. “I think we were spread out too much. A little bit in the neutral zone and then spread out on the fore-check. Better timing from the D and the forwards. Hopefully we’ll get better on Wednesday at that.”
What the Flyers must avoid is pressing too much. After a pretty good first period Sunday that Philly dominated 11-4 from a shot perspective, a bad luck Sidney Crosby goal was the only blemish. Philadelphia never got its edge back as they fell further and further behind. Which certainly did goalie Brian Elliott no favors. He’ll certainly welcome a cleaner, crisper game in Game 4.
“I don’t know if it’s frustration or you get caught not moving your feet and you’re reaching a little bit, that’s what happens you lose control of your stick,” Elliott said. “That’s when the penalties are called. It’s definitely not an excuse, we did it to ourselves. We have to make it a focus, we can’t be doing that.”