Penguins: Pittsburgh Advances on Strength of Guentzel’s Four Goals

Thanks to a wild 8-5 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Penguins are on their way to the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Jake Guentzel had four straight goals in the contest, while Sean Couturier had a hat trick for Philly in the losing effort.

The Penguins advance to play the winner of the Columbus/Washington series, which currently sees the Capitals ahead three games to two.

This is the ninth playoff series win in a row for the defending champions.

The Penguins were without Evgeni Malkin, who was injured in Game Five, and they struggled to play things as tightly as they wanted. Still, they got the job done.

This series saw the road team win time and time again. The Flyers lost all three games at home, while Pittsburgh outscored them 10-1 in Game Three and Game Four. Philadelphia struggled mightily on defence and those holes were especially exposed against the Penguins on Sunday.

But it should be stated that nobody wants to allow five goals against in a playoff game, even when victory is earned, and the winners will have to iron some things out in the second round.

After the game, it was revealed that Couturier had been playing through a torn MCL. The centre injured his right knee in practice Tuesday and missed the fourth game of the series, but he was roaring on Sunday in an effort to gain momentum. Couturier also scored the Game Five winner on Friday.

In the end, however, the Flyers were brought down by the one thing that always seems to bring them down these days: inconsistent goaltending.

Michal Neuvirth and Brian Elliott struggled to find momentum as a tandem and were often lit up by the Penguins.

In truth, Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray didn’t have a remarkable series either. He allowed five goals on 26 shots Sunday, including a particularly bad one by Scott Laughton. But his club has the victory and you know what they say about victors.

Those spoils will be scrutinized, by the way, and the Penguins look like a team that has at least some vulnerabilities after a battle against the Flyers. As they await their next opponent, they have some work to do.

Published by Dr. Pucksworth

Doctor of Puckanomics.

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