The Philadelphia Flyers' Game 1 win wasn't exactly textbook on Wednesday, not when they went down 3-0 in the first period and had to battle back.
But they did win the game, and they appeared also to win the game within the game, with coach Peter Laviolette getting at least some of the line matchups he wanted fairly often despite being on the road.
Judging by what he did in that first game, it's clear that Laviolette is trying to get his defence pairing of Braydon Coburn and Nicklas Grossman out against Crosby (and Evgeni Malkin) as often as possible.
His forward matchups are less up to the Flyers coach, as his line with Daniel Briere, Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn is getting much of the time against Crosby despite not being the strongest defensively.
How successful was Laviolette despite those limitations? Well here's a look at Crosby's 14.5 minutes of even strength ice time from Game 1 based on which players he was out against (via timeonice.com):
Part of the problem with trying to simply match up against Crosby when you're facing the Pens is that you've got the Art Ross Trophy winner in Malkin on another line and basically just as dangerous.
Maybe even more so.
Pittsburgh has been using Crosby with Steve Sullivan and Pascal Dupuis at even strength, while Malkin plays with James Neal and Chris Kunitz, meaning there is probably more firepower on that second unit.
The Flyers, meanwhlie, had much more of a checking line against Malkin than Crosby, with Max Talbot, Matt Read and Sean Couturier getting the assignment the most often (on various lines).
While Crosby's line was in on two of those first period goals and the Malkin line was shutout, it was Kunitz-Malkin-Neal who had plenty of chances, with 14 of their 28 shots.
Crosby's line only had five and was out played by Briere and Schenn late in the game (even though Crosby himself was on the ice for only the one goal against).
It's the Pens that have last change though, so look for coach Dan Bylsma to get his stars out against other lines and defence pairings as often as he can in Game 2.
For more on the matchups, see Broad Street Hockey here.Report Typo/Error