Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Playoffs Series Preview & Pick

Winger Artemi Panarin has a risky one-timer, and - by far - led his team in points with 82. And just like in 2016, Philly surprised everyone by making the playoffs. The Predators lost to the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final last season, while the Avalanche had an NHL-worst 48 points. Keith Kincaid took over the crease as the Devils pushed for the playoffs before securing the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, but veteran netminder Cory Schneider remains in the picture should he falter. Leafs goalie Frederik Anderson has stellar stats in his career against the B's, but this is his first playoff matchup against Boston. Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen and Boston counterpart Tuukka Rask have near identical save percentages at.918 and.917, respectively.

The Bruins managed to score three goals in the final ten minutes of Game 7 to send the game to overtime.

An annual tradition will continue this spring for fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Brion Elliott had a good game against the Rangers as he stopped all 17 shots that he faced for his first shutout of the year and the 37th of his career, plus we note that the Flyers are 10-1 in his last 11 starts. Having some young guys who haven't been though this kind of ringer, it's a privilege to play these games and to put on an National Hockey League jersey.

Matthews finished the regular season with five power-play goals, and while it's not a eye-popping number, remember that Matthews scored three in the Maple Leafs' last three games.

If the Flyers have any hopes of preventing the Penguins from getting an early jump Wednesday and Friday in the series' first two games in Pittsburgh, then they're going to have to limit the Penguins' power-play opportunities. The Pennsylvania rivals flat out don't like each other.

The Penguins, who are trying to become the first team to win three straight Stanley Cup championships since the New York Islanders from 1980-83, will host the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round at PPG Paints Arena (6 p.m. CST; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

There had not been a repeat Stanley Cup champion since the 1997 and '98 Detroit Red Wings when the Penguins did it previous year. With AP Photos.Penguins goaltender Matt Murray says he's not focused on his so-so regular-season numbers as Pittsburgh begins its bid for another Stanley Cup. The Predators took the first step on their mission by winning the Presidents' Trophy with 117 points. Pittsburgh has Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel. Goaltending for Nashville has been an incredible story as Vezina Trophy Finalist: Pekka Rinne has a 42-13 win/loss record.

(3) San Jose Sharks vs (2) Anaheim Ducks: San Jose isn't playing its best hockey heading into the postseason.

This might not be as easy as a series as it looks on paper considering the Lightning have the league's best offense.

Crosby has turned his season around after a slow start before finishing with 29 goals and 89 points. A broken ankle suffered by star defenceman Ryan Suter will also be tough to overcome.

The Knights have exceeded expectations time and again. Inequities have happened, but so has plenty of drama on Cup runs by the Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks and the Penguins twice. The Kings have been here before, and several of their best players from the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup champion teams, including Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick, still play prominent roles. "How's he going to screw this one up?" I had seen him play as John Gibson's back-up in Anaheim and as a 1A or 1B with James Reimer in Toronto.

Tomorrow night, the NHL Playoffs will be underway. Another close matchup, but with the playoff experience Washington has, the final prediction: Washington Capitals win in 7 games.

The hard part is the format isn't created equally, making one road to the third round or the Cup Final potentially easier than another. Cole's seven points in twenty games from the blue line have helped the Blue Jackets tremendously as they made a push toward the playoffs.

  • Arturo Norris