By Joseph Santoliquito

PITTSBURGH (CBS) — Maybe this was by design. Maybe the Flyers intended to play their worst game this season, make a ton of mistakes, lure the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins into a false sense that they’re light years better than the Flyers.

The Penguins certainly showed it.

Superstar Sidney Crosby scored his third career playoff hat trick and anything the Penguins wanted to do they did. The Penguins rolled over the Flyers, 7-0, Wednesday night in the worst playoff loss in Flyers’ history.

The Penguins have a 1-0 lead in the opening-round best-of-seven series that will go Game Two Friday night in Pittsburgh.

“It’s the playoffs, we’re down one game, we need to show up for the next game,” Flyers’ center Sean Couturier said. “Guys were excited and were anxious to get going. Their best players were better than ours. There were a few lucky bounces. In general, we need to be better.”

The game was over within the first 20 minutes. Bryan Rust, Carl Hagelin and Evgeni Malkin each scored in the opening period. Penguins goalie Matt Murray posted his third-straight playoff shut, which was last done by Ilya Bryzgalov (May 3-7, 2006). Murray stopped 24 shots. The Flyers’ top line of Couturier, Claude Giroux and Michael Raffl were a combined minus-11, to the Penguins’ top line of Jake Guentzel, Crosby and Rust, who were a combined plus-14.

The Flyers this season are 0-3-2 against Pittsburgh and have been outscored by the Penguins this season 27-11, including Wednesday night’s debacle.

“It’s one of the worst games I’ve been a part of,” Giroux said. “I was terrible, I made a lot of bad plays. We just have to find an answer coming next game. We’ve been through a lot this year and I’m not worried we can come back from that. We’re going to get out of this together, win the next game and get out of this 1-1.”

Joseph Santoliquito