TCL Round 2 Staff Predictions: Philadelphia Flyers vs. New Jersey Devils

 

2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Eastern Conference Semifinals
Philadelphia Flyers ( 5 ) vs. New Jersey Devils ( 6 )
 
 
You have to wonder what facing the New Jersey Devils means to the Philadelphia Flyers. They've just come from beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in one of the most emotional series in recent memory, set up by even more emotional regular season games to close out the season last month. If they win this one, they can likely look forward to facing the New York Rangers, another big time Atlantic rival whom they faced in this past year's Winter Classic, to much fanfare. Forgetting how impressive it would be for a team to make the Stanley Cup final going through three division rivals, it has to already be mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing on a team that plays just like that; mentally, physically, and emotionally.
 
Keeping that in mind, Peter Deboer and the New Jersey Devils have to be smiling, because they're coming from the other end of the spectrum. Their win against the Florida Panthers was by no means easy, it took them 7 games and it was a pretty tough series. But compared to Flyers/Pens, it was by every means tame. And that could play into their favor, especially against a team that is clearly struggling both defensively and between the pipes.
 
If Marty Brodeur can shut the door, as he's done so many times in the past, we could be talking about an unlikely Devils team making the Eastern Conference finals. But on the other hand, you have a handful of Flyers forwards having playoffs the shades of some of the big names of the 80s. Messier, Mario, dare we even see Gretzky. Yes, we're talking about Claude Giroux. Ladies and gentlemen, there you have the key to this series.
Consensus: UNANIMOUS consensus -- The Flyers will take this one in 5 games.
 
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Round 1 Results:
Flyers vs. Penguins: Only 6 of 15 TCL writers picked the Flyers to win the series, with Adam Pardes correctly picking them to win in 6.
Devils vs. Panthers: 11 of 14 TCL writers correctly picked the Devils to defeat the Panthers, with Adam Pardes and Mark Triple picking them in 7 games.
 
Schedule:
Game 1: Sun. April 29 at 3PM in Philadelphia
Game 2: Tue. April 1 at 7:30PM in Philadelphia
Game 3: Thu. May 3 at 7:30PM in New Jersey
Game 4: Sun. May 6 at 7:30PM in New Jersey
Game 5: Tue. May 8 at TBD in Philadelphia (if necessary)
Game 6: Thu. May 10 at TBD in New Jersey (if necessary)
Game 7: Sat. May 12 at TBD in Philadelphia (if necessary)
*All Puckdrops are in Eastern Standard Time*
 
Season Series: 3-3, but Bryzgalov has 2 shutouts vs. the Devils while Brodeur has struggled.
Previous Meetings: Four, tied 2-2. Flyers won the last two in 2004 and 2010.
Coaching Battle: Peter Laviolette vs. Peter Deboer
 
Key Injuries:
Philadelphia: Ian Laperriere (concussion, done), Blair Betts (knee, done), Pronger (concussion/knee, done), Andrej Meszaros (groin, 6-8 weeks), Nick Grossman (upper body, DTD)

New Jersey: Henrik Tallinder (blood clot, indefinitely)

 
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Genius Or Madness?
Kyle Andrew Busch -- Flyers in 4
Has anyone predicted a sweep this entire playoffs? I'll be the one to do it, because Philly is just too good. I have a feeling that Bryzgalov's nightmarish first round is a thing of the past. He palyed well in game 5 and 6, so good things are going his way. Philly boasts the deepest offence in the playoffs: Giroux, Briere, Jagr, Hartnell, Simmonds, Talbot, Voracek, Couturier, Read, Schenn, van Riemsdyk....not to mention their depth players are playing well too. It won't be difficult to beat a 39 year old Martin Brodeur and the shoddy defence of the Devils. If there was any series I'm sure of, it's this one. I'm on the Flyers bandwagon.
 
Robert D'Aurelio -- Flyers in 4
There is no way New Jersey stands a chance after barely beating Scott Clemmensen and the Florida Panthers. Jersey had their hands tied with a team that played 82 games in the poorest division in hockey. Although it'll be easier to score on Bryz than the Clemmer, the Flyers forwards go 9 deep. Expect close games in the first two periods where Brodeur will do his best to keep the Devils in the game - but the flood gates will eventually open with Claude Giroux leading the charge.
 
 
Prax's Take:
I honestly couldn't think of a playoff series that I'd be less interested in than this, despite the fact that I'm firmly in love with the Flyers at this point (don't tell my Habs readers). But in certain ways it is interesting. The goaltending battle can pretty much go either way. Bryzgalov obviously can't play the way he did against the Pens, or the Devils will easily win this series, but Marty Brodeur hasn't exactly been Mr. Consistent lately. The Flyers have a definite advantage up front, but the Devils still have guys like Parise, Zajac, Kovalchuk, and those guys will probably be riding high after their series win against the Panthers. The Flyers, on the other hand, could be emotionally drained after a very high profile series against the Pens, so facing the much more low key Devils could be sort of a letdown in a way. The Flyers are facing some adversity here, but I think they've got enough in them to take the Devils down. One thing's for certain, it's going to be a much tighter series than the goalfest that was Flyers/Pens in round 1.
Prediction: Flyers in 6
 
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Featured Writer -- Adam Pardes
It'll be interesting to see how the Flyers powerful offense fares against the Devils defensive style of play. I definitely think Philly won't get nearly as many quality scoring chances as they did in the first round, but I think they'll be able to capitalize on what they do get and reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
Prediction: Flyers in 6
 
Featured Writer -- Mark Trible: 
The Flyers looked impressive for much of the first round and they're biggest weakness was in crease (insert joke here). However, Bryzgalov and the defense stood tall in Game 6's 4-1 win over Pittsburgh to close the series. The blueline corps will welcome Nicklas Grossmann with open arms. Even if they struggle, there's too much offensive depth for Brodeur and company to stop.
Prediction: Flyers in 5
 
Featured Writer -- Matt Brigidi: 
Bryzgalov has had some pretty impressive success against the Devils this season, while Brodeur has struggled. Both teams have developed a tendency to find the penalty box quite often this postseason, so special teams may loom large. If the Flyers can carry over their power play success from Round 1 and the Devils continue to sturggle with the penalty kill like they did in Round 1, it could be the difference in the series. Ultimately, Philadelphia matches up well against Jersey and as long as the Flyers make sure to contain Parise, Kovalchuk, Henrique and Elias they should have no problem advancing to their second Eastern Conference Final appearance in three years.
Prediction: Flyers in 5
 
Conor Hassard:
The Flyers depth and all-around scoring will overshadow the Devils’ average style of play in this series. The goaltending will be interesting, as Marty Brodeur and Bryzgalov weren’t on the top of their game last round.  New Jersey's offense is good and will most likely get a lot of scoring chances against the Flyers defense.  However, the Flyers will outmatch the Devils big-time when it comes to scoring. Brodeur and the Devils defense won’t stand much of a chance against guys like Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Jaromir Jagr,  and Jakub Voracek.

Prediction: Flyers in 5

John Russo:
Much like the NYR/WAS series, this could come down to goal-tending as well. Ilya Bryzgalov may have turned the corner for the Flyers with his strong play in Gam 5 before shutting down the Penguins completely in a 5-1 Game 6 clincher. Devils future HOFer Martin Broduer stepped it up big as well against the Panthers and will have to do so again this series versus the Flyers. Broduer is 1-3 this season against Philadelphia though. New Jersey is hoping rookie Adam Henrique can step it up again in the 2nd round, leading this team offensively much like he did all season. The Flyers got offensive outbursts from their two star scorers, Claude Giroux and Danny Briere. And despite the fact Giroux got snubbed for the Hart, he said, "at the end of the day, that's not the trophy I want." Flyers fans can agree.
Prediction: Flyers in 5
 
Kimberly Pollock: 
Despite a tie in the season series between the Flyers and Devils, I have to say that the Flyers have the advantage. They're well-rested while the Devils just wrapped up their series on Thursday night - in double OT, no less. The Flyers have more depth, and players on all four lines contributed during the first round. Neither team had great goaltending, but Bryzgalov has a 3-0-0 record against the Devils this season and Brodeur went 1-3-0 against Philadelphia. The Flyers have home ice advantage in the first two games, which gives them the opportunity to create their own matchups. Couturier was phenomenal going up against Evgeni Malkin in the first round, so I'm sure we'll see him against guys like  Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrick Elias, and Zach Parise. It might be a gritty series and the wins may not always come easy, but I'm going with Philadelphia.
Prediction: Flyers in 5
 
Larry D'Angelo:
The rest of the play-offs will depend on the play of Ilya Bryzgalov. While he played much better in game six, he will need more consistent performances and will need to fight off the weak goal. The Flyers D will need to keep the porch clear and keep the shot blocking at a consistent level. The Flyers depth will shine through this series. The Devils still have Marty Broduer, although he maybe older he still has the play-off experience he earned over his years in this tough conference. Special teams and quick starts will be key for the Flyers this series.
Prediction: Flyers in 6
 
Matt Bernot:  
These are two teams with a long history of hating each other. From Scott Stevens knocking out Eric Lindros and the Flyers in 2000 to Brian Boucher's revenge in 2010 and a 2004 win for Robert Esche in between, the Flyers and Devils aren't strangers to playoff hockey. This year, the revamped Flyers take on a Devils team who will probably lose a lot of pieces in July. The Devils lack the potent offense of a Crosby-Malkin-Neal line, but Kovalchuk and Parise will still be a tough challenge for Couturier to shut down. Look for a series with less flashy offense and more discipline. 

Prediction: Flyers in 6

 
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Around The Checking Line:
 
Featured Writer -- Jordan Kuhns: 
 The Flyers took out the Pittsburgh Penguins, every media member's darling, in six games. The emergence of Claude Giroux as a force, and the ridiculous amounts of depth that the Flyers have will give the thin Devils defense fits. Everyone saw that Marty Brodeur can steal a game, even at the age of 40. However, Brodeur had close to zero success against the Flyers this year, while Ilya Bryzgalov was 3-0 with a 0.29 GAA and .987 save percentage against the Devils in the regular season. The Devils are simply outclassed in this round.
Prediction: Flyers in 5
 
Featured Writer -- Newman: Flyers in 5
 
Andy Veilleux:
The Devils are an average team, while the Flyers are as well save a powerhouse-offense. Brodeur has not looked the same in years, and Philadelphia boasts one of the deepest offense in the league, and definitely THE deepest offense left in the playoffs. Flyers' defense and goaltending were nightmarish in the first round, but they should be able to decimate New Jersey with goal-scoring.
Prediction: Flyers in 5
 
Maggie Avila:
Defense usually wins but I think this will be the lone series that breaks this. The Flyers have to much fire power to keep down for too long. The games will be lower scoring but in the end I see Philly finding ways to score.
Prediction: Flyers in 6
 
Nick Symon: 
The Flyers were the most impressive team in the 1st round in my mind. Lead by the brilliant Claude Giroux, I have a tough time seeing anyone stopping them at this point. I always worry about Universe between in pipes for the Flyers but as long as the Flyers high octane offense stays hot, the Devils will have a tough time out-scoring them. This could be the last playoffs we see legend Martin Brodeur in the NHL.
Prediction: Flyers in 5