Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Eastern Conference Semi Finals Preview: Flyers vs Devils

#5 Philadelphia Flyers vs #6 New Jersey Devils

Season Series:  Flyers 3-2-1, Devils 3-3

Series Schedule:

Game 1: 4/29 NJ @ PHI 2 PM

Game 2: 5/1 NJ @ PHI 6:30 PM

Game 3: 5/3 PHI @ NJ 6:30 PM

Game 4: 5/6 PHI @ NJ 6:30 PM

Game 5*: 5/8 NJ @ PHI TBD

Game 6*: 5/10 PHI @ NJ TBD

Game 7*: 5/12 NJ @ PHI TBD

 

Philadelphia

Somehow the Flyers got out of the first round with laughable goaltending and playing very little defense.  The only reason they got by is that the Pittsburgh Penguins completely embarrassed themselves.  Had they been playing a team with a mediocre goalie and average defense they would have gotten destroyed.  The Flyers scored a ridiculous 12 power play goals on 23 chances.  But,on the flipside, they gave up 9 power play goals on 29 PK attemps.  Claude Giroux lead Philly with 7 points (3 G, 4 A) in six regular season games against the Devils.  Ilya Bryzgalov was stellar against the Devils in the regulars season giving up just one goal in 3 starts.  If the Flyers want any hope in moving on they will need that Bryzgalov to show up.

Leading Scorer: Claude Giroux 6 goals, 8 assists, 14 point

Backstop: Ilya Bryzgalov 4-2 3.89 goals against average, .871 save %

Ex Blackhawk Factor: No ex Hawks

Difference Maker: While the Flyers top line gets all the attention with Giroux, Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell, Danny Briere has been deadly on the 2nd line.  He had 5 goals and 3 assists versus the Pens.  He has 104 points in 103 career playoff games, so showing up in the post season is not new to him.

 

New Jersey

The Devils needed 7 games and 2 overtimes to get by the Florida Panthers.  They get to renew their heated rivalry with the Flyers in what should be an intense series.  The Devils set the all time record for killing off penalties in the regular season but had a tough time against the Panthers power play.  They gave up 9 goals on 27 penalty kills.  This will have to improve big time against the Philadelphia attack.  Both Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk lead the Devils with 3 goals in the first round.  The Devils proved they can roll all four lines and play a pretty good defensive game.  They will be challenged by the skill and physical play of the Flyers.

Leading Scorer: Travis Zajac 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points

Backstop: Martin Brodeur 4-2, 2.06 goals against average, .922 save % (Brodeur got credited for 2 assists as well)

Ex Blackhawk Factor: No ex Hawks

Difference Maker: David Clarkson scored 30 goals in the regular season but did not score against the Panthers.  He found other ways to chip by adding 5 assists and playing big around the net.  He was built for a series against the Flyers.  He will need to use his size and physical edge against Philadelphia.  I am looking forward to watching him and Scott Hartnell do battle.

 

My Prediction: I think the Flyers are too talented offensively for the Devils.  They proved they have enough fire power to overcome subpar defense and goaltending.  I think it gets them by at least one more round.  Flyers in 6.

Tags: New Jersey Devils Philadelphia Flyers Stanley Cup Playoffs

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