Pittsburgh, Pa. – The arduous trek for another Stanley Cup gets underway as the Pittsburgh Penguins (47-29-6, 100 points) open at home Wednesday, April 11 against their cross-state rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers (42-26-14, 98 points) at 7:00 p.m.
Kris Letang spoke with Michelle Crechiolo about the playoff series on Pittsburgh’s web page, “They’re skilled and they’re fast. They have good defensemen that can join the rush, they’re a really good team. They finished what, two points behind us? They had a great year and they have good players, it’s going to be a big challenge.”
Brian Elliott, the Flyers starting goaltender, talked about the playoffs on Philly’s site, “It’s probably the reaction if a puck misses and hits the glass and the crowd goes oooh. It’s different in the playoffs. Every moment makes a big difference. Like I said, you have to stay within yourself and not get caught up in thinking ‘this is the last shot or the last opportunity’. You have to really treat it as another game, but you have to elevate your level because its what everybody plays for. You’re going to get everybody’s A-game and we better have ours.”
Let’s head around the internet to see what the experts are forecasting about the Penguins and Flyers.
Per the off-ice observers at Bovada.com, the odds of Pittsburgh claiming the Eastern Conference are 9/2 and hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup are 10/1. The Flyers list at 16/1 to capture the East and 25/1 to win the Cup.
Rich Newpol of Pens Labyrinth, part of Fansided.com, likes the energy and play lately of Rust, Hagelin, Aston-Reese, Guentzel, and Sheary. He projects the Black and Gold to wrap it up in six contests.
Stephanie Chen from the PensNation.com sees the Pens possibly moving forward past the Flyers in five, but more probably in six. She believes in Mike Sullivan having this team ready at this time of the season.
For Dan Kingerski at Pittsburgh Hockey Now, the prognosis is the Penguins in five in taking out the Flyers. He does not see the Flyers being able to hold off the Malkin and third lines in this matchup.
Evan Sporer and Jim Cerny from the Sporting News like the Penguins in six games while Brandon Schlager has the Pens in five over the Flyers. All three writers believe the Black and Gold’s roster depth carries them in this series.
Checking in with the quartet of hockey writers at USA Today, it is the playoff experience of the Penguins that should prevail. Kevin Allen has Pittsburgh in seven, The trio of Jimmy Hascup, Mike Brehm, and Jace Evans all agree on the Penguins in six.
My Prediction: I think Philadelphia’s goaltending will not be able to handle the assault of shots from Pittsburgh. I think the Black and Gold seize the series in six meetings.
Other Voices: Jamey Baskow envisions the Flyers completing the series in six while Austin Mitchell prefers the Orange and Black in seven at the Philly Sports Network. Staying outside of the sin bin is a must for the crew from Broad Street to succeed.
How long of a series are you forecasting to open the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs? Let your fellow Pens fans know what is on your mind in the comments section below.
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