Dunlap: Stop With The Fashionable Answer

No, it wasn't "just one game"

Colin Dunlap
April 12, 2018 - 1:26 pm

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn't matter how many ways you say it. And I don't care who says it.

Don't care if it is Sidney Crosby.

Don't care if it is Claude Giroux.

I don't care if it is Mike Sullivan, Mike Milbury, Mike from the North Side, some guy you rode the 'T' next to this morning or some person who yammers out their opinions on sports talk radio.

Doesn't matter who it is. If they have the opinion that Game 1 in the Penguins' series against the Philadelphia Flyers was "just one game" and "everything gets erased for Game 2" and "it is a new day on Friday" I couldn't be in more disagreement with them. Maybe if it was a 2-1 Pens win. Maybe. If it was a nip-and-tuck, back-and-forth game where each team had at least some chance to win, then maybe I'd agree with that opinion a little bit.

But not now. Nope, not at all. 

It's just fashionable to say "it was just one game" when we all know this one was a rarity in a series --- it was the kind of behind-stompin' beatdown that permeates and pushes clear through to the next game. This, to me, is easy to see. I mean, sure, I see the players saying those things because that is what they have to say. That is the Penguins players playing the PR game and not being cocky and that is the Flyers players lying to themselves and acting as if a 7-0 bludgeoning won't at all be on their minds when they take the same ice on Friday. 

Oh, but this one will. The Flyers will remember being so thoroughly hammered and the Penguins will remember so adeptly playing the role of the hammer. 

So let all the players and some of the fans who subscribe to the politically correctly manner of thought keep spreading that "it was just one game" manure while I shoot it to you straight: The Penguins --- and most notably Crosby --- have taken up permanent residency inside the heads of the Flyers and will remain lodged there until (more like "if") Philadelphia gets a lead in the series. This to me seems closer to fact than it is opinion. After all, the Flyers haven't defeated the Penguins in five tries now this season, so I'd like someone to explain to me how Wednesday night's massacre should just be looked at independently and something Philly will just slough off in 48 hours? I'm not seeing it; the loss will perpetuate. 

By no means am I saying this series is over. No way, it isn't time for that yet. But, for those who subscribe to this "everything gets erased for Game 2" rubbish, fill me in on exactly how either of the Flyers goaltenders are suddenly going to play well? Let me know how either of those two guys are going to deal with the constant barrage of Penguins offense, if you can. 

While you are at it, if you really think "it was just one game" then go ahead and explain how the young, wonderful top defensive pairing of the Flyers who was supposed to shine in their first foray into the Stanley Cup Playoffs will get it back on the rails and look like the moment wasn't too big for them? Do you really think they won't remember getting outclassed last night when they take the ice on Friday. 

Also for all the "it was just one game" subscribers --- Are the Flyers suddenly going to figure out Matt Murray? Is Bryan Rust going to magically stop scoring goals in huge games? Same with Jake Guentzel; is Philadelphia going to come up with a magic potion to slow him down when the lights shine brightest? Or how about their plan with Patric Hornqvist, will the Flyers all of a sudden know how to move that nuisance of a man from his icy patrol in front of the net? No way. 

So keep yapping about this "it was just one game" stuff. You can sell. I won't buy it.

Every single thing I saw that pushed the Penguins to a win in Game 1 seemed more like a trend --- and a trend that I have a hard time believing the Flyers will stop until, well, I see them stop it.