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Bylsma: “We’ve got to be a tougher team to play against”

Apr 14, 2012, 12:12 AM EDT

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two Getty Images

Earlier tonight, PHT asked readers who’s the most to blame for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ precarious 2-0 deficit against the Philadelphia Flyers after tonight’s 8-5 loss. If you ask a good chunk of Penguins players, it seems like they’d put a check mark in the “defense” category.

Brooks Orpik didn’t pull punches when discussing the tough game with Ray Fittipaldo.

“It’s execution, realizing what we’re doing wrong. We have to execute better,” Orpik said. “They’re taking advantage of every mistake we’re making. We’re hanging our goalie out to dry, that’s for sure.”

Orpik was blunt, yet he didn’t really give much of an indication regarding how the Penguins might “execute better.” Head coach Dan Bylsma provides the headline quote “We’ve got to be a tougher team to play against” to Seth Rorabaugh, but Jordan Staal was probably the most specific when he discussed what might be an important consideration.

“The game has been too open,” Staal said. “They’re a very fast team and they jump on opportunities when they can.”

Staal indirectly brings up an interesting thought that’s been bubbling up more and more lately: are the Penguins playing into Philly’s hands by trading blows? Sure, Pittsburgh lead the NHL in scoring during the regular season, but the Penguins have shown an ability to grind out ugly wins quite often the last couple years. Perhaps Pittsburgh should muck things up as if Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin aren’t in the lineup, then?

It’s an awkward thought, but when you’re down 2-0 via two grueling losses, it’s probably time for some brutal self-assessment.

  1. icdogg - Apr 14, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    You’d think the Pens, being a more experienced team than the Flyers, would not be gambling as much, and would be seizing advantage of the younger teams’ mistakes. But no, they’re just playing pond hockey.

  2. huff0341 - Apr 14, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    The Penguins need to take a page out of the Bruins playbook if they have any chance at turning this around.

    • mediatedviscera - Apr 14, 2012 at 2:42 AM

      they cant they have no idea of flow and nerve,

  3. mojosmagic - Apr 14, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    What Bruin “page” would that be against the Flyers? The one they blew a playoff 3 game lead at home despite being ahead 3-0?

  4. dawglb - Apr 14, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    Mojo, you are a funny dude. (assuming not a dudette)

  5. matthews4 - Apr 14, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    No Mojo that would be a sweep that eventually led to the Cup. Look for the dirty play that Malkin,Orpick,Asham,Vitale,Crosby and Cooke are known for to dominate next game. The Pens remind me so much of last years Vancouver when you think about it, maybe the Flyers playing like the Bruins would be a good thing.

  6. emoser - Apr 14, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    I don’t think the solution is to “muck things up.” During the regular season the flyers were winning those types of games too and Crosby said after one that they were playing into the flyers hands by retaliating to the rough play. It’s not a matter of choosing what style of game to play, it’s a matter of cutting down on the mistakes regardless of the type of game. It’s not a matter of strategy, it’s a matter of the flyers just flat out being a better and harder working team.

  7. jssgriffi - Apr 14, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    How about the penguins are down 0-2 because the flyers are just better then them? I guess that can’t be it because Cindy and afghany are “amazing”. Sorry to rain on your parade NBC but it looks like your penguins are exiting earlier. Guess you’ll just have to keep a picture of Crosby in you guys wallet and pull it out when ever u miss him.

    • snutchpro - Apr 14, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      yeah, i don’t get this?? so the flyers are winning bc the pens are making mistakes? i think they are the better team, regular season record and two games into playoffs prove this so far. they can’t execute bc the flyers are not allowing them. and the wise words from blysma…we have to be tougher…looks like the goons may be coming to play sunday.

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Apr 14, 2012 at 5:23 PM

      Nah. Vegas picked the Pens to be the odds-on favorite to win the Cup so the Flyers are only winning because of fortunate bounces haha. The bias towards the Pens is so bad. Thank you NHL for showing us what equality is all about.

  8. heyzeus143 - Apr 14, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    keep talking philthy-delphia, please, just keep talking

    • whlskey - Apr 14, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      Okay, what would you like to talk about..? Oooh, I got one. Let’s talk about how a 19 year old rookie scored a hat trick and added an assist as well in last night’s game, and all the while shutting down the NHL’s probable regular season MVP and the league’s 2nd ugliest player (literally), and limiting him to just 2 assists and a -5 +/- through the first 2 games. What’s the matter? Don’t wanna talk about that.. That’s okay, because there was another hat trick in last night’s game that we can talk about instead. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe they’re teammates, although I think this guy’s much older, at the ripe old age of 24. I do also believe he had 3 assists to compliment his 3 goals as well.

      • clamnewton - Apr 14, 2012 at 5:18 PM

        Great post. Pens fans might not agree, seeing as how it’s reasonable, accurate and stat-laden.

  9. bobhpine - Apr 14, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    The flyers will lose just like every year… Matter of when not if

  10. gallaghedj311 - Apr 14, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    The penguins are NBCs darlings? Sorry but none of the 4 major sport teams that reside in Philly would ever disappoint in a championship game / series. Bigger city, bigger fanbase, better fans.

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