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Stanley Cup Playoffs Predictions: Western Conferance Frist Round

15 April, 2018, 00:51 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • 041018_Penguins-Flyers_usat

A group of third-liners and depth players have played well above expectations, leading to the first playoff appearance by an expansion team. Evgeni Malkin led the charge with 98 points this season, besting teammates Phil Kessel (92) and Crosby (89), as they all finished in the league's top 10 in scoring.

This was a one-sided matchup during the regular season, with the Penguins winning all four games over their in-state rivals, beating the Flyers in regulation both times at home while prevailing in overtime in both games in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins flipped the switch.

As has been repeated over and over since it was learned that the Flyers and Penguins would renew their rivalry in the postseason. How could a powerful performance like that not make the Flyers wonder if they have enough to win?

Sidney Crosby saw Jakub Voracek's glove on the ice and wasn't going to let his opponent pick it up easily. But the Blue Jackets have a pretty good chance of sending the Capitals home one round earlier than usual.

If the lines and pairings used in practice Thursday are any indication, the Flyers will stick with the same lineup that suffered the most lopsided Game 1 loss in the franchise's playoff history.

The Penguins are given only the sixth-best odds to do it, though, at +1000.

NHL executive Colin Campbell once famously said the league sells hate, and at no time is hate more widely bought, sold, distributed and celebrated than during the Stanley Cup playoffs. While that certainly isn't an exact scientific measurement, typically that same gimmick reaches only 100 in the regular season.

8 - Overtime playoff goals scored by Avalanche Hall of Famer-turned-executive Joe Sakic, the most for a career.


They'll go at it again in Game 2 on Friday. Crosby did it for them. "You go to the net and sometimes they end up there and they don't always go in". The Flyers understand their best chance to pull off the upset will be by staying out of the penalty box.

"When you add two players like that and give up what they did, it's you know: They're in it to win it", former player and NBC hockey analyst Eddie Olczyk said of the Lightning. Now.The Flyers' No. 1 unit, so dominating during the regular season, was a combined minus-11 and had just three shots.

In fairness, the Penguins are human. In games in which they allowed at least five goals this season, the Flyers went 7-5-2 in their next contest...

The Flyers scuffled through most of the first, going 0-for-2 on the power play while Elliott looked quite shaky in net. "For us, it's focus on what we've been doing the last two, three months".

Jake Guentzel had a goal and three assists for Pittsburgh. Crosby's goal was dazzling as he deflected the puck out of mid air and redirected it past Elliott. And from covered to dominant. The Flyers had zero shots on all four power plays Wednesday... He, too is getting a reputation as a playoff performer.

Tomas Plekanec managed just two assists in 17 games with Toronto after being acquired from Montreal. That's a fact. But there's having star players and the storyline of seeing what they can do against another team - and their stars - and there's letting star players run wild without much of a challenge. "And in the playoffs". "Guys were excited and were anxious to get going. Hopefully, (the offense) keeps coming".

With nine of 16 playoff teams finishing the regular season with 100-plus points, the parity in the National Hockey League is record-breaking, making it even harder for any team to hoist the 35-pound trophy. But if the former Ottawa Senator finds some chemistry with Conor Sheary and that third line, it could be a real headache for the Flyers.

After all, the Penguins finally flipped the switch. If the Penguins maintain their intensity, another lesson could be forthcoming in Game 2.

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