The Flyers are going to Pittsburgh to Win
Following the Philadelphia Flyers come from behind 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night, the team’s playoff picture fully developed.
Combined with a 5-2 win by the Pittsburgh Penguins over the New York Rangers, the Flyers were cemented into the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
It is now official that the team will be playing Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Consol Energy Center against the Pittsburgh Penguins some time next week.
"It is going to be pretty exciting,” Matt Read said of playing the Penguins in the first round. “Our last game was pretty intense and we have one more game against them before playoffs. I think it is going to be a good, hard game. I think it is a good match-up for us."
The Penguins have certainly been a good matchup for the Flyers of late, especially when playing in Pittsburgh.
Since opening the Consol Energy Center last season, the Flyers have won all five meetings in the arena.
The team has gone 4-1-0 against the Penguins this season and has a combined record of 8-2-1 against their cross-state rivals over the last two seasons.
Of course, the playoffs are a different kind of monster.
“It's just a bit of confidence that you can beat them but on the other side playoffs is totally different,” Jaromir Jagr said. “You start from 0 - 0 [. . .] sometimes you are kind of lucky all year against one team but playoffs are totally different."
Since 2008, the Flyers and Penguins have met in two separate playoff series and the Penguins have won both of them 4-1 and 4-2, respectively.
The Flyers realize how fragile these kinds of streaks of dominance can be.
“In years passed it was flip-flopped and I think you get confidence, goalies make prominent saves,” Scott Hartnell said. “I don't know what it is. When you have a team’s number hopefully you can keep on building on that. You just got to stay with it and keep going and go into their building and get one of out two."
The strangest part about this situation though, is that the two teams will meet on Saturday in what is now a meaningless game.
“It's going to be weird playing them Saturday afternoon with nothing on the line,” Hartnell added. "I am sure they want the confidence that they can beat us in their building and we want to keep doubt in their mind, obviously, and keep playing well.”
Despite the fact that the two points will have no impact on the final standings will not impact the Flyers intentions when they go to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Players and coaches alike reaffirmed that they plan on going to Pittsburgh to win the game.
“We’re going to go in there and play the game,” head coach Peter Laviolette said. “We’re here to win hockey games, I don’t think that changes anything. There’ll be no juggling in the standings. Given the choice to beat the Penguins or lose to the Penguins, we wanna win. The objective remains the same.”
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