Break out the tissues, get ready for a good cry, its time for another Atlantic Division love fest. The kindest crew in the Quaker State are getting ready to embrace their diamond in the rough bosom buddies the New Jersey Devils. To get here both teams had to step over the bodies of
foes they slaughtered lovers they loved too much. The Devils took seven games to wine and dine the Florida Panthers into a replete exhaustion. The Flyers exchanged deep,meaningful glances, enthusiastic embraces and heartfelt conversation with their cross state rivals until the Penguins were only capable of declaring the extent to which the gentle clenches had left them feeling completed by the honest love.
We can only hope this series lives up to the first two. Goaltending is still really a question for both teams. While Brodeur turned in his best goaltending performance in seemingly forever, the Flyers possess a touch more in the way of high end offensive talent than did the Panthers. You also have to remember he’s not getting any younger. Devils fans will hold out hope the .922sv% holds out, but it is above his career average.
Ilya Bryzgalov hopes to be spared bear costumes in the stands and the largely absentee defense that typified the first round series. Working in his favor are three major factors. The first is that in terms of save percentage the first round against the Penguins was his worst as an NHL goaltender. The second is that while the snipers on the Devils can certainly end a game, including countryman Kovalchuk, the talent isn’t as deep up front for the Devils as for the Penguins. The third is the glaringly obvious fact that the Devils don’t get blind eyes turned to their diving and antics at the same rate as other Atlantic division teams one could name.
- The Flyers powerplay was completely absurd going 52.2% against the amazing and elite goaltending of Marc-Andre Fleury.
- The Devils had a merely impressive 20% success rate with the man advantage.
- On the penalty kill the Flyer’s went 69% and potted three goals while down a man.
- For the Devils, a 66.7% effective kill was a let down from the regular season.
Don’t expect as high scoring a series as the Philadelphia vs Pittsburgh or as congenial a series as the Devils vs Panthers. Neither teams blueline is stocked with elite talent, on paper the Flyers have most of the advantages except in goal. They split the season series.
The Flyers can’t have a let down from Giroux, and need a lot more from their defense to win this series. The Devils need MB30 to play well the first two tames, and get in the heads of the Flyers, and for Hart Trophy snub Kovalchuk to break out and dominate this round, he didn’t have an awful first round but he’s one of the two or three best skaters left in the playoffs and he needs to show it.