First playoff meetup between these two ancient rivals since 1997 and it can use a boost. The edge has been off a little and there’s nothing like a heated post season series to fire things up. A Flyer diehard missing Avery and Tortorella? Yeah! This series should fix that.
The two clubs have been similar in some ways this year. It is interesting both teams started horribly, were both 3-7 after 10 games. The scoring numbers of both teams look kind of similar with things spread around, the difference is the Rangers have a bunch of guys in the teens and the Flyers have a bunch of guys who’ve hit the 20 goal mark or more. Of course, the New York team D and goaltending advantage flatten that edge. As important as Steve Mason has been this year for the Flyers, he’s still not Henrik Lundqvist and I think the Rangers are playing a better team D in front of Hank.
Some Ranger fans are questioning their own offense but they can finish enough to win because the Flyers are still too prone to horrible breakdowns in their own end and give up too many power play opps.
Martin St Louis hasn’t seemed to mesh at all since the deadline trade that brought him in and Rick Nash scares me. He’s scored some big goals to beat the Flyers and you would think his bad past playoff performance has got to end eventually. For the Flyers, aside from the known quantities, keep an eye on Michael Raffl, an overaged Euro rookie at 25 whose ice time has steadily increased over the year. A key guy for the Flyers is Jake Voracek, Claude Giroux’s right wing. Expect him to play with some extra fire and get some offensive results. The Flyers need those two guys to step up.
I see this series going at least 6 with a couple OT games and a couple games where pucks just go in in bunches but mostly 3-2 or even 2-1 games. I give the Flyers maybe a 45% chance in this one. The matchup is just bad for them, they’ve struggled with the Rags since that 2010 end of season home-n-home it seems. They can’t win at MSG and they don’t have home ice. I’m optimistic we’ll see plenty of mean spirited hockey from both clubs. I think a lot of 4-on-4 hockey is to the Flyers advantage and if they can keep the shorthanded situations fairly even, that’s a Philly win as their power play is superior to the Rangers’.
Having said all that, it’s playoff time and history often means nothing. Hahahaha!
About the Author: Fan for almost 40 years, player for about 30 of them. That's 70 years of hockey experience right there