You may be wondering why I’m posting the likes of Flyers material. Well the reason is as bias as I may be toward the Pens, it’s always good to read what enemy is writing about. And why visit their site and give them more attention when you can come to a Penguins Site...there's my dig.
First off, they need to quell our nerves. All season long, they've had atrocious starts, whether it's falling behind in an individual game or beginning the season winless in six games. Our nerves are shot. Secondly, given that Pittsburgh has the home ice, they need to effectively eliminate the crowd. There is no better way to eliminate a playoff crowd then by scoring the first goal on the road.
Thirdly, and this has been a theme of John Stevens' pressers all year long, the Flyers cannot allow themselves to "chase the game", as Stevens would put it. Getting down by a goal, especially early in the game, forces you to play the other teams' game. It forces you to rush things. It forces you to take stupid penalties.
If the Flyers want to win this game, and consequently the series, they cannot allow themselves to fall behind the eight ball right off the bat as they have done so many times this season.
That means attacking the Penguins for every puck. That means physically abusing every single player in black and gold. That means playing smart. That means playing relentless Flyer hockey wire-to-wire.
If they do that, they win this game and make us all a lot more confident going forward. They've shown for stretches this season that they can do it. Now, it's time to be consistent. No more excuses. It's playoff time. Let's go Flyers.
From the Flyer Frequent…
Why the Flyers Will Win:
• Because the Penguins' record against the Flyers this year is really irrelevant. The Flyers had a winning record against the Penguins in the regular season last year, and we all know how much that meant. The Flyers also did not have winning records last regular season against either Washington or Montreal, and we all know how much that meant too.
• Last time the Flyers and Penguins played, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin combined for zero points. And more importantly, zero shots. This is a team with it's current lineup that knows how to shut them down.
Why the Penguins Will Win:
• Goaltending. I definitely don't dump on Martin Biron as much as the rest of the world does, but I don't think he matches up well against Marc-Andre Fleury. Mostly because Fleury is the key to the Penguins success, and doesn't get anywhere near the credit he should for it. Ever since Fleury got rid of those yellow pads, he's been real good. The Flyers scored a combined eight goals on him in five games last year (plus an empty netter). That's a GAA of 1.60. Which is real good.
• The Penguins ended the season in the right way, winning their last few games pretty convincingly, finishing a run that saw them move up all the way from tenth to fourth. The Flyers, on the other hand, finished the season by blowing three different leads against the Rangers to squander home ice.
Prediction: Penguins take Game 1, by a score of 4-1. Shaky night for Biron. He'll have a big Game 2, though.
From The 700 Level…
The Flyers' scoring depth is more than many teams can withstand over a seven-game series, even a squad that boasts two of the top three scorers in the league, both creating more than 100 points this season. Their next leading scorer had 53. Before heating up, the Pens lost quite a few games in which Malkin and/or Crosby had multiple-point showings. But that's not to say guys like Jordan Staal and Petr Sykora can be overlooked, and Bill Guerin was acquired with a series like this one in mind.
But given that Malkin and Crosby had stellar 100+ point seasons, let's call the forwards nearly a push, with the edge going to the Flyers. Sure, I'd rather have six guys with 25 or more goals PLUS Danny Briere (last year's team leader in goals) and Giroux (quite possibly the best player on Flyers ice over the past month), but we can't kid ourselves about Pittsburgh's duo and their ability to take over a game. We've seen it happen plenty before, and we'll probably see it happen more than once this series. Much of John Stevens' gameplan will involve marking their top two lines, and that will likely in turn slow down the Flyers' offense to some degree. That's fine, especially if it works as well as it did in the teams' last meeting, when Malkin and Crosby didn't even register a shot on goal between them.