Game 1 Flyers @ Penguins | 7:08 P.M.
Taking the Pittsburgh Penguins or the ‘Field’ to come out of the Eastern Conference in the 2018 playoffs?
The Penguins begin their quest for a three-peat tonight at the PPG Paints Arena where they boasted a 30-9-2 home record.
If the Penguins, as expected, get by the Flyers, Pittsburgh would likely be a slight favorite next round vs Washington or a heavier favorite were the Blue Jackets advance.
A Three-Peat is looking a bit dicey based on the Penguins body of work this season, but the expectation game should be pinning the Penguins as a favorite against any team in the Metro Bracket.
One clear edge the Penguins have over the Flyers in Round 1 is the Penguins speed game in transition, while talk among scouts, coaches is Pittsburgh’s forward depth will likely be the difference in this series.
“The Flyers big boys are going really well and they have a chance to cancel out Pittsburgh’s big boys,” an Eastern Conference Scout says of the Flyers…..But, where are the other game breakers coming from to put Pittsburgh in an awkward position?”
“Valtteri Filppula would be the guy that stands out if only this was two or three years ago. He looks ready for To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!
A former NHL assistant coach tells TIOPS The key for the Flyers getting Pittsburgh off their game is making life “hell” [hide] for Kris Letang in his own end on the breakout, where the Flyers need to force Letang to take a “hit” at every opportunity to make a play.
The coach noted Letang is the one core player the Flyers have a chance to rattle that could have repercussions for the Penguins.
— If Derick Brassard stays healthy this series, he’s likely going to play in Game 1, the growing consensus in hockey circles is Pittsburgh just has too much depth lines 1-3 for the Flyers to overcome.
The biggest thing the Flyers have going for them is being a team that has nothing to lose.
“We didn’t expect very many people to pick us to come out of this series and that’s okay,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said this week. “There’s a quiet belief in our dressing room. We’re the underdog, we’re pegged that, we know that. We’re playing against a helluva hockey team that has a lot of experience at the playoff level.”
Matt Murray has won two Stanley Cups in two seasons and regardless of his play of late, the Penguins enter the series with a clear edge in goal.
Brian Elliott’s Career Post-Season Numbers: 15-22, 2.60 GAA, .908 SV%
Murray boasts playoff resume of two Stanley Cups with a 22-10 record, .928 save percentage.
The 23 year old always rises to the occasion in the postseason and expectations shouldn’t be anything less.
Prediction: Don’t be surprised if the Penguins have a dud game or two in the series that’s makes it a tighter series than it should be but Philadelphia beating Pittsburgh four out of seven times is an uphill battle….. Sidney Crosby picks up right where he left off in the regular season, has a huge series, while Matt Murray shines late in the series as Pittsburgh closes the Flyers out in six games. [/hide]