Holy crap, we're here. As of writing this, there's about nine hours until the Flyers begin their run in the playoffs. It's been three hundred and thirty-two days since the Flyers last played a playoff game. That's a long time. A LONG time.
(This is mostly general stuff for the whole series, but it's mostly for tonight).
Why the Flyers Will Win:
- Because they've got something to prove. About 97% of pundits are picking Pittsburgh to win this series, which is pretty ridiculous for a 4 vs 5 match-up. Plenty of bulletin board material.
- Because the Penguins' record against the Flyers this year is really deceptive. They won four of the six, sure, but one of those was in a shootout (in a game the Flyers were leading with three minutes left), and the other was because of this shit.
- 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.
- Braydon Coburn. Kimmo Timonen. Simon Gagne. Claude Giroux. None of them were around last year. Those additions plus the subtractions of Ryan Malone, Marian Hossa, and Derian Hatcher should mean good things.
- 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.
- 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.