Philadelphia took the season series 4-2 over Pittsburgh. The last meeting took place on the final day of the season back on Saturday, in a pretty meaningless game. Evgeni Malkin did score his 50th goal of the season in the contest though.
Things got nasty between the two in the final stages of a 6-4 Flyers win on April 1. In the finals minutes Flyers coach Peter Laviolette didn’t appreciate the the Pens sending out their checking line in the closing stages, even more so when a Joe Vitale hit sidelined Danny Briere.
Flyers forward Scott Hartnell has some words for the Penguins regarding the the upcoming series. “There is a lot of hatred by that city against us. We thrive off that,” he said. “It’s going to be a bloodbath.”
“I think it’s going to be a rough series,” Claude Giroux said. “It won’t be easy. They want to win as bad as us. We’re a young team with a lot of energy and we’ve got to make sure we go out there and make sure we outwork the Penguins. It’s going to be a tough one.”
The Flyers are 5-1 lifetime at the CONSOL Energy Center, with the lone loss coming in the season finale. Hartnell had a theory as to why the Flyers have been successful there. “The fans aren’t on top of you,” he said. “It feels like you can just go out and play.”
Both teams are great offensively with the Pens being the number one team in goals per game and the Flyers being second. The deciding factor in the series will come down to the men between the pipes.
Ilya Bryzgalov was traded for this summer and later signed a contact just about any Flyers fan knows by heart now 9-years, $51-million. The beginning of the season did not go so well, but lately Bryz has been one of the more solid netminders in the league. Laviolette has went as far as call Bryz a rock. According to Bryzgalov he isn’t afraid of the Penguins.
In the other cage for the Penguins is Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury has struggled lately allowing 23-goals in his last eight games. Before that he allowed 13-goals during a nine-game win streak.
This will be what makes or breaks the series and I believe Fleury can turn things around for the Penguins. That is why I am picking the Pens to win the series in six.
Follow Johnny on Twitter @JohnnyMacNHL.
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