The Stanley Cup Playoffs is finally here! After roughly six months and 82 games it’s finally time for the best sporting event in the world, Stanley Cup Playoffs. Flyers secured their playoff spot in their last game of the season against the Rangers whom they defeated in a great fashion scoring 5 goals including a Claude Giroux hattrick. Girouxs hattrick was his first regular season hattrick in his NHL career and the Flyers hope he will continue his play in this years playoffs.
Brian Elliott recorded a shutout in just his second game back from injury.
REGULAR SEASON STATS
Flyers (42-26-14, 98pts) @ Penguins (47-29-6, 100pts)
TOP 3 SCORERS
Claude Giroux 34 goals, 102 points
Jakub Voracek 20 goals, 85 points
Sean Couturier 31 goals, 76 points
Yevgeni Malkin 42 goals, 98 points
Phil Kessel 34 goals, 92 points
Sidney Crosby 29 goals, 89 points
REGULAR SEASON SERIES
Penguins won 4-0-0 (Flyers 0-2-2)
Nov. 27 @ Pittsburgh – Penguins 5-4 (OT)
Jan. 2 @ Philadelphia – Penguins 5-1
March 7 @ Philadelphia – Penguins 5-2
March 25 @ Pittsburgh – Penguins 5-4 (OT)
WATCH / LISTEN / FACE-OFF
LISTEN: 97.5 WMMR
PUCK DROP: 7:00 PM
LINE COMBINATIONS (Courtesy of Daily Faceoff)
Philadelphia: Flyers Line Combinations
Flyers made no changes in yesterdays practice from their last regular season game against the Rangers. Raffl is still on the top line with Couturier and Giroux. Konecny is on the third line with Filppula and Simmonds. Dont be surprised to see Konecny back on the first line if things dont go Flyers way in game one tonight.
Giroux – Couturier – Raffl
Lindblom – Patrick – Voracek
Konecny – Filppula – Simmonds
Laughton – Lehterä – Read
Provorov – Gostisbehere
MacDonald – Sanheim
Manning – Gudas
Pittsburgh: Penguins Line Combinations
The Penguins are back to back Stanley Cup champions and heavy favorites to win this series and the Cup again. Flyers will need to find a way to shut down Crosby, Malkin and Kessel if they want to have a chance at getting to the second round. Lucky for the Flyers the Penguins defense isnt great and Murray hasnt had the best season so they might have a shot at winning this series if they can take advantage of that. But thats easier said than done.
Guentzel – Crosby – Rust
Hagelin – Malkin – Hörnqvist
Sheary – Brassard – Kessel
Kuhnackl – Sheahan – Aston-Reese
Dumoulin – Letang
Määttä – Schultz
Hunwick – Oleksiak
THREE STORYLINES TO WATCH
Flyers biggest weakness all year has been the their 29th ranked Penaltykill. And if they want to even have a chance at winning this series they MUST step up their penaltykilling or stay out of the penaltybox as a whole. Penguins powerplay is the most lethal powerplay in the entire league ending regular season with a 26.2%, which was first in the entire league.
Claude Giroux ended his career year season with a career high 34 goals and 102 points which is also a career high. On the 82nd game of the season he carried his team to sercure the final playoff spot when he scored his first ever regular season hattrick. Claude Giroux is the MVP of this team and possibly the MVP of the league. Look for him to show that he is not just happy to make the playoffs but to make a run.
Brian Elliott vs Matt Murray. They both had similar regular season numbers and both had up and down years. Whoever can step their game up the most might just be the winner of the series. Murray has the edge winning back to back stanley cups but Brian Elliott is a veteran and has the capacity to steal a series.