It's the playoff series the Flyers fans and possibly the players have wanted since the end of the Regular Season. As we all remember back to that final Sunday game in Philadelphia where some media and players insinuated that the Pens threw the game to take the easy route to the Eastern Conference Finals. I would actually have cheered for this if I was a Pens fan, calling it a smart decision because it kept the players from getting beat up. For the most part they were right but a large problem looms ahead for this team from Western PA.
Now playing with a bite of swagger comes a team from Eastern PA playing a rough, tough, physical game. What happened in the one game the Pens lost? They got beat up. Malkin ran around slew footing Rangers defenseman Paul Mara, The so called "Next One" got out of his game trying to go after players after clean checks. Hmmm, sounds like a game plan has been laid for the Flyers. But lets get back to that final game shall we.
You better believe this team remembers the fact that Pittsburgh took it easy and possibly threw the game to not play the Flyers in the first round. Maybe they were even thinking the Flyers would be out of the picture by the time they could possibly meet in the playoffs. Guess what Pittsburgh, you got us anyway. The series will be full of hate for both sides but I would expect the city to really come down hard on Crosby, Malkin and Company.
I think the game plan will be known from the start of Game 1. As Mr. T states in Rocky III, they will bring lots and lots of pain. I can't wait to see Richards go head to head with Crosby while Carter goes against Malkin and company. As much as Kimmo and Coburn have stepped up for this team, the second and third pairings will have to step up now too. Pittsburgh has two top-level scoring lines but as long as the Flyers stay out of the box they should win the 5 on 5 battles. Lets also not forget Penguin killer RJ Umberger, who went off last series. Do we have another Keith Primeau in the making.
As for the goaltenders I also have no doubt Biron can outplay MAF. With MAF all you have to do is shoot blocker side high and low. The guy gives up rebounds. The Flyers have shown grit in getting garbage goals. Thats why Holmgren went out and got Hartnell and is also where Knuble likes to camp out.
I smell a lot of the media types taking the Pens again but beware this team is thriving on the underdog role. I take the Flyers in six game hard fought series. And if I were the Flyers I would use this song as the theme to the whole series (its in the video).
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Put the women, children and light stomaches to bed because the battle is about to ensue.