The Philadelphia Flyers got absolutely curb stomped in Game 1, as they swallowed a 7-0 loss. After watching that, the outlook for Game 2 wasn’t looking so promising, either. Yeah, the Flyers apparently got the memo, though. They turned the beatdown into a positive and harnessed their energy to take it out on the Penguins in Game 2. The Flyers surprised everyone by getting a 5-1 win on the way back to Philadelphia.
Despite taking one of the worst losses you will find in playoff history, the Flyers are going back to Philadelphia with home ice advantage. The one way they’re going to be able to beat the Penguins in this series is if Matt Murray goes cold. They don’t have the luxury of swapping between Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury this season. Fleury is out in Las Vegas helping the Golden Knights.
Did Murray go cold in Game 2? Facing only 19 shots and allowing 4 goals, I’d say that wasn’t the best performance for him. He finished with a 0.789 save percentage on the evening. Murray has a tendency to play hot and cold hockey. He will go through spurts where he is good, and others where he can’t stop a beach ball in net. The Penguins hit the net 35 times, so the shot advantage was in no way indicative of the final score. This series is in Philadelphia, where if the Flyers protect their home, we’ll have a 3-1 Flyers lead. Anyone who watched Game 1 may find that a bit outlandish. Head below for our free Penguins vs. Flyers Game 3 pick.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers Game 3 Pick
There isn’t some special formula to this series. The Penguins play their usual game and they win the series. This also includes Matt Murray showing up to play well in the crease. He doesn’t have to be perfect, but a save percentage less than 0.80 is not going to work out well. The Pens’ offence failed to find the back of the net in Game 2. However, that’s going to be something that doesn’t happen too often.
It would have been a close game if they did score, but depending on 5 goals every game won’t work in the playoffs. Off games can happens for an offence, but off games have been more of the norm for him this season. Let’s not take anything away from him in the past, though. He’s done tremendous things for the Penguins in the playoffs, including a shutout just a few days ago in Game 1.
Murray did however have a down year, there is no way to sugar coat that. He finished with a GAA of 2.92 and 0.907 save percentage. For comparison sake, he had a 2.42 GAA and 2.00 GAA in his first two years. Brian Elliott isn’t as bad as Game 1 showcased, but at the same time, not as good as Game 2. At least not since leaving St. Louis, where he played like he did in the previous game often.
He posted a 2.66 GAA and 0.909 save percentage in 2017-18. The Flyers must need him to carry the load for them if they expect to win the series. Catch Murray when he's down and get Elliott rolling; sounds simple. Game 2 was the first time the Pens didn’t score at least 5 goals on the Flyers in five games. I don’t foresee their offence being held down again, though. This same bet resulted in a push in Game 2, but I’m going right back to the well and looking for a winner this time in Game 3. We can’t expect the Penguins to be held down like that again, and Murray’s act is tough to trust.