There is simply no sugarcoating what happened to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against Philadelphia: The Pens choked. Now it’s a must-win on Friday for Pittsburgh before the series shifts to Philly. The Penguins are -215 favorites on Bovada’s NHL hockey odds and there will be live betting available at the book.
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Pittsburgh jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one period on Wednesday, with the first goal coming from Sidney Crosby. But the Flyers’ Daniel Briere scored twice (one in the second, once in the third period) to make it 3-2 and rookie Brayden Schenn tied it at 12:33 of the third. And Jakub Voracek beat Marc-Andre Fleury from in close 2:23 into overtime for the stunning victory. It was Pittsburgh’s fourth straight playoff loss as a favorite.
Philadelphia did lead the NHL with 20 victories when the opponent jumps in front during the season. It was the sixth time in franchise history that Philly had rallied from a three-goal deficit to win a playoff game. The Flyers were 7-22-3 when trailing by two or more goals in the regular season.
Ironically, Briere had missed the final week of the regular season after taking a hard hit from Pittsburgh’s Joe Vitale during Philadelphia’s 6-4 win at Consol Energy Center on April 1. His availability for Wednesday was in doubt until earlier in the day. Briere is money in the playoffs as he has 61 points in 58 career postseason games with Philadelphia.
Philly might be in the Penguins’ heads. The Flyers have only lost once in seven visits to the Consol Energy Center since it opened at the start of last season. And four times since March 18, the Penguins have held a lead of two goals or more against the Flyers – and three times they’ve lost. The only time they won was last Saturday, in a game that meant really nothing (and is Pittsburgh’s only win at Consol Energy Center against Philly).
Pittsburgh also must fix the power play. In getting ousted in last year’s first round by Tampa Bay, the Pens were 1-for-35 with the man-advantage and 0-for-25 at home. On Wednesday they were 0-for-3, while Philly was 1-for-1 – that one goal was Schenn’s that tied the game.
The gloves are off! Now the real season starts. Every big play, every penalty, it’s like you’re calling it. Live betting available throughout playoffs at Bovada.