The Philadelphia Flyers have been into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since defeating the New Jersey Devils last Thursday. They’ll finally find out where they will head for Game One of their Conference SemiFinal series on Wednesday night.
Of the four Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series’ that began two weeks ago, only one series continues to solider on. Coincidentally, that series has a direct correlation to the Flyers’ second round opponent. The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators four games to two, and last night the Boston Bruins eliminated the Buffalo Sabres by the same count in Beantown. The Montreal Canadiens, however, would not die at the hands of the Washington Capitals, as they used Jaroslav Halak’s 50+save effort to force a decisive Game Seven Wednesday night in Washington.
The scenarios are simple, and for once, they don’t look too horrible for the Flyers and their fans. First of all, the most important point: the Boston win guarantees the Flyers will not face Pittsburgh in the second round. As far as Wednesday is concerned, here are the scenarios:
1) A Washington win in Game 7 means that the Flyers will travel to our nation’s captial for their Eastern Conference SemiFinals series. The Bruins will head to the Steel City to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
2) A Montreal win in Game 7 means that the Flyers will head to Beantown to take on the Boston Bruins in the second round, while the Canadiens will head to the Pittsburgh and play the Penguins.
…It’s hard to say which match-up would be better. Obviously, if the Capitals are to advance past the Habs, there stands a strong chance their offense may begin to catch fire – which could be a very bad situation for the Flyers. However, the struggles the Caps have had offensively could be amplified with the Flyers’ aggressive fore-check and strong penalty killing of late. If the Orange and Black need to go to Boston, the situation is fishy. In one respect, you’re certainly getting the worse of the two teams on paper between Washington and Boston. However, on the other hand, Boston plays a similar style to the Flyers and would be getting back both Marc Savard and Denis Seidenberg for round two, so they would have an added confidence boost, while the Flyers will play without two of their top five forwards in Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne.
It’s easy to speculate now, but that’s about all we can do. Caps-Flyers? Bruins-Flyers? One will happen, and it’ll be up for the Flyers to be ready for whichever team comes calling.