(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Philadelphia Flyers
What should we expect?
The top two offenses in the NHL will hook up in what should be a high scoring series. The Penguins finished first in the league averaging 3.33 goals per game this season with the Flyers just behind them at 3.17 GPG. The teams combined for 42 goals in the six games that they played against each other, which averages out to seven a game. Philly had the edge in the season series winning four of the six games (posting two wins at home and two on the road).
Just like any other year in the past decade, questions surround the Flyers goaltending heading into the playoffs. They thought they had their issues solved when they inked Ilya Bryzgalov to a huge contract in the offseason but he has been inconsistent throughout the year. Sergei Bobrovsky actually started the majority (4) of the games against Pittsburgh this season posting a 2-2 record with a 3.48 GAA and .885 SV%. An extremely hot March – that saw Bryzgalov go 10-2-1 with a 1.43 GAA and a .947 SV% – will give him the starters role going into the series.
On the other side Marc-Andre Fleury played in a six games against the rival Flyers this season. He posted a 1-3-1 record with a 3.41 GAA and a .812 SV%.
Both of these teams posses a ton of depth up and down their lineups. The Penguins supporting cast of Staal, Neal, Sullivan, Kunitz and Dupuis will be relied upon almost as much as their top two snipers.
Staal lead the Penguins with six points against the Flyers this season. Neal was second with five points.
The Flyers’ Simmonds, Schenn and Read will be expected to help out the likes of Jagr, Giroux, Hartnell and Briere.
Hartnell, Jagr and Timonen all had six points in six game season series.
The Penguins will be lead by two of the best scorers in the game in Crosby and Malkin. The two have tore it up in the postseason – both sitting with career playoff points per game well over one. (Crosby’s playoff PPG of 1.32 and Malkin’s is 1.18).
I feel that the Flyers will keep it close but wont be able to shutdown two if the league most dynamic players.
Pittsburgh in 7 games