His team embarrassed by the defending Stanley Cup champions in a lopsided playoff-opening loss Garry Gilliam Jersey , Philadelphia Flyers coach Dave Hakstol could have panicked. Instead, he doubled down.
No switching up the lines. No swapping the goaltenders. Nothing. Hakstol didn’t think changes were necessary. As ugly as getting blown out by Pittsburgh in Game 1 looked, it felt even worse. That was motivation enough. No personnel changes necessary.
”It was pretty tough for us to walk out of the rink a couple nights ago,” Hakstol said. ”That wasn’t us.”
This was.
Sean Couturier had a goal and two assists, Brian Elliott stopped 34 shots and Flyers cooled off the Penguins 5-1 on Friday night to even the first-round series at a game apiece.
”Said it coming in, nobody is really giving us a serious chance in this series,” Hakstol said. ”I don’t know if anybody still will. I do know this, we’ve got it down to a five-game series and we introduced ourselves into this series tonight.”
Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Konecny, Andrew McDonald and Nolan Patrick also scored for the Flyers. Two nights after getting crushed 7-0, Philadelphia responded by keeping Pittsburgh stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in check and taking advantage of what few chances it produced against Matt Murray to beat the Penguins for the first time this season.
”For all the doubters out there, there you go,” Flyers forward Claude Giroux said.
Game 3 is Sunday in Philadelphia.
Patric Hornqvist scored Pittsburgh’s lone goal with just over 5 minutes left to avoid the shutout Josh Robinson Jersey , but the Penguins looked ordinary for long stretches after looking unstoppable in the opener.
Pittsburgh outshot the Flyers 35-20, a number that didn’t include a pair of shots that hit the post early or Crosby fanning on a wide-open net in the waning seconds of the second period. Elliott, pulled in the middle of the second period in Game 1, also stoned Crosby on a breakaway earlier in the second.
”You always look back and there are the `what ifs’ but that happens sometimes,” Crosby said. ”We just have to stay with it. That’s the way the playoffs work.”
Matt Murray’s shutout streak dating to the 2017 Stanley Cup finals ended at 225:49 when Gostisbehere scored on the power play late in the first period. Murray finished with 15 saves to lose for just the third time in 17 home playoff starts in his career.
The Flyers struggled to sustain pressure on Murray but took advantage of what few opportunities they created. Philadelphia went on the power play late in the first period when Pittsburgh’s Zach Aston-Reese was called for boarding and the Flyers – who didn’t even manage a shot on net during four power plays in Game 1 – needed just one to take the lead.
Gostisbehere sent a shot from the point that made its way through a Patrick screen, between Murray’s legs and into the net with 37 seconds left in the opening period to end the fourth-longest playoff shutout streak since 1990.
It didn’t take the Flyers nearly as long to beat Murray again. Less than two minutes actually.
Murray actually managed to get his right pad on Couturier’s shot from in front but the puck popped up, caromed off Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang and into the net 47 seconds into the second.
The Penguins began pressing but Elliott responded. Crosby broke in alone just past the game’s midway point but Elliott’s glove swallowed up the Pittsburgh captain’s backhand attempt. Late in the second, Crosby needed to simply redirect the puck into the net while standing at the right post. Instead, it skittered straight across the goal mouth and out of harm’s way. Crosby smashed his stick over the crossbar in frustration.
”If I find a way to put that one in, it’s 2-1, it’s a different game,” Crosby said. ”So, that one and the breakaway was the big turning point in the game.”
When Konecny held off Chad Ruhwedel and chipped the puck over Murray’s glove 1:21 into the third the Flyers had control. Just over 18 minutes later they had their first victory Pittsburgh in 383 days to go home with the series even.
”It was a little weird last game Mohamed Sanu Jersey ,” Elliot said. ”I think this game we really came out and everybody played their role really well. We played a great team game.”
NOTES: Letang went to the dressing room for the majority of the second period after Giroux slammed into him just seconds after Crosby and Giroux collided. Giroux was not called for a penalty and Letang returned for the third period. … Pittsburgh went 0 for 4 on the power play. The Flyers were 2 for 3. … Amanda Kessel, a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. women’s hockey team at the 2018 Olympics and the younger sister of Penguins forward Phil Kessel, led the sellout crowd at PPG Paints Arena in a ”Let’s Go Pens” chant before the opening faceoff.
Javier Baez flashed a little baserunning moxie. It paid off and Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon loved it.
Baez stole home and the Willson Contreras hit a tie-breaking homer to lead the Cubs past the Detroit Tigers 5-2 on Wednesday for their sixth straight victory.
“Who’s more exciting to watch than he,” Maddon said of Baez. “He is, I’d say, in that top-10 kind of part of the Rat Pack from back in the day. He’s one of those guys.”
“He sashayed in with Sinatra. That’s how he plays baseball.”
Baez capped an eventful trip around the bases by stealing home in the fourth to tie it at 2. He singled to lead off the inning, then Detroit starter Francisco Liriano picked him off first base. But first baseman John Hicks‘ throw to second sailed into left field and Baez advanced to third.
Baez sprinted home when Liriano tried pick off Addison Russell at first. Hicks’ throw to catcher James McCann was quick and accurate, but Baez slid head-first and touched the plate before McCann could tag him.
“As soon as I got to third, I was just ready from the first pitch,” Baez said. “I just went for it.
“I used to slide head-first (as a kid) and get stuck and not go through the bag or whatever,” Baez added. “I was kind of worried about it because I didn’t want to do the scorpion.”
But instead of ending up with his tail in the air, Baez slid just outside of the plate and reached in.
“It was a close play, obviously Reshad Jones Jersey ,” McCann said. “He put a swim move on me”
Conditions at Wrigley Field favored the longball, with a game-time temperature of 92 degrees, a heat index of 102 and the wind blowing out. Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire left the dugout midway through the game with what bench coach Steve Liddle called “being overheated.”
David Bote hit his first homer while Detroit got solo shots from Nick Castellanos and Hicks, but was swept by the Cubs in the two-game interleague set and has dropped 13 of 15.
Bote, playing third in place of injured Kris Bryant, smacked his drive into the batter’s eye shrubs in straight-away center on the first pitch he faced in the second to tie it at 1 in the second.
Contreras homered in the sixth to put the Cubs ahead 3-2 and then added a two-run double in the seventh.
Chicago starter Jose Quintana (7-6) allowed two runs on five hits through six innings to win for the first time since May 31. Liriano (3-5) permitted three runs on five hits and five walks in his third outing -and third loss – since returning from the disabled list.
“We’ve got to keep playing, keep grinding, and hopefully things are going to turn around for us,” Liriano said.
Brandon Morrow pitched the ninth for his 19th save in 20 chances.
Castellanos hit his 14th homer, and third in five games, to left in the first to put Detroit ahead 1-0. In each game of the Cubs’ winning streak, the opponent has scored first.
Hicks’ shot in the third landed halfway up the left-center bleachers and put the Tigers back in front, 2-1.
BOTE BIT
Bote played his 15th game in the majors and entered hitting .241. The 25-year-old was recalled from Triple-A Iowa for the third time this season on June 26.
ROSTER MOVE:
The Cubs recalled C/INF Victor Caratini from Triple-A Iowa and designated C Chris Gimenez for assignment. Caratini started at first base on Wednesday as Anthony Rizzo didn’t enter the game until he pinch hit in the sixth.
Caratini was on the Cubs’ opening day roster Mike Alstott Jersey , then was sent to the minors on May 25 for more playing time. With Iowa, the 24-year-old batted .313 with four home runs and 22 RBIs in 32 games. He’s a switch-hitter who can play the infield and catch.
TRAINER’S ROOM
Cubs: Although he was eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday, the earliest INF/OF Bryant (left shoulder inflammation) will return is Friday. Maddon said Bryant was still feeling some soreness. . Maddon said RHP Yu Darvish (right triceps inflammation, right elbow impingement/inflammation) is feeling better, but there’s no timetable for him to resume throwing. Darvish got a fresh opinion and a cortisone shot from Dr. Keith Meister last Friday in Texas after suffering pain in a bullpen session in Los Angeles on Thursday. “We want to develop a plan to get him back out there as soon as possible,” Maddon said.
UP NEXT:
Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd (4-6, 4.18) faces the Rangers RHP Yovani Gallardo (2-0, 9.00) on Thursday as Detroit opens a four-game home series versus Texas.
Cubs: Following a day off on Thursday, Chicago sends LHP Mike Montgomery (3-2, 3.55) to the mound against RHP Tyler Mahle (6-6, 3.83) to open a three-game set against the Reds at Wrigley Field.
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