In other words, another loss. Both of these teams were physical all game, with numerous scrums breaking out in front of the net, and the Kings' defense was stout while the Golden Knights' attack was relentless.
Unless it's not. Flyers fans, and the players too of course, were put through the worst kind of agony Wednesday night as the defending Stanley Cup Champions creamed Philadelphia 7-0.
Despite being an underdog heading into their first playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, there was plenty of excitement surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers not just because of how great the city in general has been as of late in sports, but also due to how the team ended the regular season. "Obviously, there's some anger in here". Anze Kopitar has had a bounce-back year and leads the team in scoring. "Guys were excited and were anxious to get going". Through 82 regular season contests, 47 of the team's games have gone over the total, while 33 have gone under and just two have pushed.
Crosby performed more stick wizardry on his way to his third postseason hat trick, Evgeni Malkin added a highlight-reel goal of his own and the Penguins overwhelmed their seemingly overmatched cross-state rivals to begin their quest for a third straight Stanley Cup with a blowout that seemed to indicate the grudge match could be a mismatch.
Pittsburgh's offense has been running on all cylinders heading into the playoffs, generating four goals or more in winning four of five to close out the campaign. The Devils don't have much to counter with, as they only have Hall who tallied 93 points in the regular season and nearly nothing else other than him.
Matt Murray got the start in goal for the Penguins and stopped all 24 shots in the shutout win.
"For me, I've been here for a long time, this is a team and I'm rooting for them", he said. Murray has endured a hard season both on and off the ice, but had a.923 save percentage in games against the Flyers. The Flyers won those two games as Elliott finished the year with a 23-11-7 record and a 2.66 goals-against-average to go along with his.909 save percentage.
The veteran goalie, whom coach Dave Hakstol said would probably start Game 2, could not be faulted for either second-period goal.
The Penguins took advantage of the miss.
Game 1 didn't go any better.
The Flyers scuffled through most of the first, going 0-for-2 on the power play while Elliott looked quite shaky in net.
To nobody's surprise, the Pens' power-play efficiency led the league at 26.2 percent.
Who are the key players?.
Mark Schiefele, with a power-play goal, and Patrik Laine also scored for Winnipeg, and Connor Hellebuyck made 18 saves.
If the Preds can successfully build on their regular season achievements, they will most definitely have a strong chance of claiming the title that so narrowly eluded them a year ago. In the four games between the two teams, the Penguins scored five power play goals on just 13 opportunities (38.5 percent). If the Flyers can somehow salvage a victory in hostile territory, they'll still claim home ice advantage with three games at home - starting on Sunday at 3 p.m.at the Wells Fargo Center.
If they don't rebound and play competitively in Game 2, the players might start thinking otherwise.