Flyers vs. Devils Preview
The Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils will meet in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2004 when the Flyers beat the Devils 4-1. The Flyers look to continue their success against the Devils this year in order to advance into the second round. This matchup is also like the 2000 series when Martin Brodeur faced then rookie Brian Boucher. A series that featured Scott Stevens crushing blow on Eric Lindros in game seven (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVeqzYgTELk) and Brian Boucher’s most memorable career save on a Patrik Elias in game three (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiIZDPM0RCY&feature=related.)
I look for this to be a very competitive series. These two teams are divisional rivalries that can’t stand each other. The Flyers just barely made the playoffs and they only made it because of their overtime shootout win on Sunday against the New York Rangers. Look for them to try and carry the momentum from that game into this series. This is a very dangerous team that can play with the best, but they seem to lose concentration sometimes and that has plagued them all year.
The Devils come into the playoffs as the second seeded team in the east and are also a very dangerous team. They have goalie Martin Brodeur, who had led three previous Devil teams to Stanley Cups. He has started 176 postseason games and posted a 45-25-6 record with nine shutouts and a 2.24 goals against average. They also have sniper Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk who are two of the most dangerous scorers in the NHL. Look for the Flyers to match Chris Pronger with the Parise line and Kimmo Timonen with the Kovalchuk line.
The biggest difference in the series is the goaltending. Brodeur is the greatest goaltender in the game today, and most likely will be the greatest goaltender to ever play the game when he retires. Really he is the main reason the Devils have a chance every year. He is their backbone. If he plays well the Flyers will have a tough time winning this series, though if they can rattle him they have a legit chance. The other goaltender in this series is Boucher. Right now he is playing pretty well for the Flyers. He hasn’t really dominated but in the last couple games he hasn’t been bad. If he plays well for the Flyers they will be tough to beat. He doesn’t need to be stellar but he can’t be bad either.
The Flyers have played the Devils six times during the regular season. Here is how they fared:
10/3 @ New Jersey 5-2 Phi
11/16 @ Philadelphia 3-2 Phi
12/12 @ New Jersey 4-1 NJ
2/8 @ Philadelphia 3-2 Phi
2/10 @ New Jersey 3-2 OT Phi
3/28 @ Philadelphia 5-1 Phi
The Flyers won five of the six games that they played against the Devils. The Flyers outscored the Devils 20-13. It’s really the one team that they were able to have success against all year. I also believe it’s the one team that the Devils wish they didn’t have to play because the Flyers were able to have great success against them this year.
My prediction is that series will go seven games with the Flyers winning the seventh and final game. This will be a well fought series and I look for the Flyers to do some damage now that they are in the playoffs. Also, look for Flyers James Van Riemsdyk to have a good series. In five games against the Devils this year he has two goals and two assists and always seems to play well against this team.