By Tim Panaccio in Pittsburgh
Get the puck to Evgeni Malkin and make sure his line has more time in the offensive zone.
That's one of the main goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 Friday night at Pittsburgh.
Malkin's line with Chris Kunitz and James Neal didn't register a point in the NHL Eastern Conference quarter-final opener and was a collective minus-1.
That has to change in Game 2, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said at the morning skate.
"I think more time in the offensive zone is something they have done as a line," he said. "A lot of their shots were on the rush last game, on the power play.
"I think establishing a presence in the offensive zone where they have been so good for them and our team, that presence in the offensive zone, we didn't have that from that line. We needed that, especially in the second and third period when we had a lead."
His players said they will play with a greater sense of desperation tonight being down in the series.
"The way you play does not change," Sidney Crosby said. "If anything, you should be more desperate. I don't see that as being an issue.
"There is a sense of [urgency] in every game. Everyone talks about scenarios and the way a series works out. The reality is, everyone is desperate every game. There is more emphasis when you've lost a game to come back and get momentum.
"That's the case in every series and that is the case tonight. We want to make sure we bounce back. That is where our mind is at."
Losing at home
Crosby has no explanation for the Flyers' success at CONSOL Energy Center (6-1).
"I don't really pay attention to that stuff," he said after Friday's morning skate. "We've been on the other side of it and have played well in other building, too. At the end of the day, you can't allow yourself to think about it."
A number of Flyers say that the former Mellon Arena (nee Civic Arena) was far more intimidating and that the fans were literally on top of you and made you feel uncomfortable and unwelcomed.
"Maybe that is a message to our fans," Crosby smiled.
The Flyers came into this series with six rookies. To say they were a bit nervous in Game 1 would be an understatement.
For all their role responsibility and their league-leading 46 goals this season, there is no way to duplicate playoff pressure, playoff intensity for a rookie until post-season arrives.
Rookie Brayden Schenn scored the tying goal in the third period that got the Flyers into overtime.
"Yeah, I was a little bit nervous," Schenn said. "It was a pretty fast-paced game out there. I don't think we were ready for what they threw at us."
A number of Flyers veterans sat beside the rookies before Game 1 to calm them down. Max Talbot, the guy who delivered Pittsburgh's third Stanley
Cup in 2009 with two goals in Game 7 against Detroit, talked to Schenn before Game 1.
"Max was telling me what his first experience was like in a playoff game," Schenn said. "I think he did warn me.
"But it was a lot more than I expected or more than all of us [rookies] expected. Frankly, we can't be doing that in the game."
So, the rookies have game under their belts now. But how they handle adversity, etc., as the series and playoffs move on, will again be part of their learning experience.
And the bottom line remains, the Penguins have 11 players on the roster who were part of the 2009 Cup roster. Experience could be the ultimate difference just the same.
Stat you need to know
In eight of the Flyers last 13 games, they have trailed 2-0.
Flyers lifetime are 22-8 when winning the first game of a playoff series. They are 18-12 in Game 2 after winning the opener. They have never lost a playoff series when going 2-0 to open one (17-0). Yet they are just 15-17 when a series is 1-1.
Pavel Kubina will replace Marc-Andre Bourdon (upper body) for the Flyers. The Flyers blue-line will have less mobility than it did in Game 1 with Kubina, Andreas Lilja and Nicklas Grossmann. The Penguins did not have any reported injuries in Game 1.
Tim Panaccio reports on the Flyers for CSNPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @tpanotchCSN
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