|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NHLIt's the utmost in intrastate rivalries anytime the Flyers and Penguins get together. But in the playoffs its is off the charts in terms of anticipation and excitement.
So, tonight begins the quest for Lord Stanleys Cup in a first round matchup of 5 seed Philadelphia versus 4 seed Pittsburgh in the Consul Energy Center. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:30ET and can be seen on the NBC Sports Network.
Let me start with this, these teams HATE each other. This will be three times in five years that they faced each other in the postseason. Philadelphia won this years season series 4 games to 2. They have also had much success since the Pens relocated to the Consul Center going 5-1 there. It would appear the much coveted home ice advantage won't apply here.
Mr. Playoffs for the Flyers would have to be Danny Briere. He is just short of a point a game in his 97 playoff appearances. He is second on the all time list of game winning playoff goals for the Flyers with 8. Another solid contributor should be Claude Giroux. He has had good success in postseason play and plays exceptionally well against Pittsburgh. He had 7 assists and added a goal against them in the 5 games he played during the regular season. Flyers goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov has been steady all year and will be counted on as netminders always are to excel in the playoffs.
For Pittsburgh this is all about the return of two of the best players ever to don skates, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. They both were forced to watch the Pens go down in 7 games last year including an excruciating 1-0 defeat in game 7 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Pittsburgh has a solid goalie in net themselves with workhorse Marc Andre Fleury appearing in 67 games and posting solid numbers of 2.36 goals against and a save percentage of .913.
The Penguins are home favorites in NHL odds at -$170 while the Flyers are an enticing +$150. The moneyline on the over/under is -$130 for 5.5 goals.