( 4 ) PITTSBURGH PENGUINS vs. ( 5 ) PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
Bloodbath. That's the word that Flyers forward Scott Hartnell used to describe the mindset of these two teams heading into this series. Some of us here at The Checking Line may be proponents of pacifism and the reduction of violence in hockey, but even we get a kick about what's probably going to happen between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in this first round match-up. The two teams set up their series in a game in the final week of the season, and if that was any indication, this one shouldn't disappoint. Expect a lot of violence, lots of scoring, contr...
Hard hitting, desperation saves and a little bit of extra-curricular activities sprinkled in.
Perhaps, it was a look at what the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals has in store for the Flyers and Penguins. 60 minutes of full throttle hockey with the addition of the playoffs, and the hockey world will be in store for another classic Flyers/Penguins series.
Sunday afternoon's battle - as well as one more game next Saturday afternoon to finish the season - was a preview of the almost inevitable 4/5-seed match up between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
Making Ilya Bryzgalov the story for every game has become tiresome to the fans, the front office and Bryzgalov himself.
But when he does something as special as he's done the past couple of weeks, it's hard to just take all the focus away from the Russian netminder, nicknamed the $51 Million Man.
The Flyers have been winning, and they have been playing a brand of hockey many expected them to play down the stretch. Scoring, defense and goaltending - those are the three things that win championships.
So why does the focus all come back to Bryzgalov? Because of the franchise shutout streak that he just broke that stood tall for 13 years midway through the second period.
There is nothing more frustrating than sandwiching a win in between two shut out losses.
After a 2-0 loss in Edmonton and a huge 5-4 comeback win in Calgary, the offense disappeared again, dropping 1-0 to the Sharks in San Jose Tuesday night.
There was one huge bright spot in the game though and it came in the form of goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
Not even 90 seconds into the game, this game had the makings of a Bryz-aster. The Flyers turned over the puck in the offensive zone and San Jose's Ryan Clowe ripped a wrister past Bryzgalov for a quick 1-0 lead.
With that being said, it wound up being the one tally that made all the difference in this game. But be that it may, Bryzgalov picked himself up and played one of the best games he had all season, despite being on the losing side.
Inconsistency is the featured word heading into tonight’s clash between the Flames and the Philadelphia Flyers. This is the first and only meeting between the clubs this season as in the past two years; each team has one win against each other (10/11- Flames 3-2 SO, 09/10- Flyers- 3-0). Dating back almost a decade shows that Dome ice has been good for the Flyers winning 3 straight since March 2001. Both teams have battled inconsistency this season, causing respective coaches and front office staff to pull the hair out of their head at moments and wonder if their team is a legitimate playoff team.