Flyers vs. Penguins playoff preview

Bsh_logo_mediumPensburgh_medium

The Blogs

Broad Street Hockey vs. Pensburgh

Another mega-series in the East brings us the Battle of Pennsylvania, as the Flyers and Penguins follow up on their 2008 Eastern Conference Finals matchup last season.

The Storylines

This year's Art Ross Trophy winner, Evgeni Malkin, was accused of running out of gas during the playoffs last year against Detroit. Can he top his 10 goals and 12 assists in 20 games?

The Numbers

Philadelphia Pittsburgh
 Record 44-27-11 9th 45-28-9 8th
 Pts % .604 8th .604 8th
 Goals For/Game 3.17 4th 3.15 6th
 Goals Against/Game 2.83 16th 2.84 17th
 5-on-5 GF/GA 1.01 14th 1.18 5th
 PP% 22.5 6th 17.2 19th
 PK% 83 6th 82.7 8th
 Shots/Game 29.8 14th 29.0 18th
 Shots Against/Game 32.5 25th 30.3 17th
 FO % 48.3 21st 49.1 18th

One interesting aspect about these two teams is the nature of their goal scoring. The Flyers boast five forwards with 25 goals or more, but the dropoff after that point is tremendous. The Penguins, meanwhile have 13 players on their roster with at least 10 goals. Over the course of a long series, might that depth make a difference?

Goaltending

Philadelphia


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Martin Biron 55 3177 29 19 5 2 146 2.76 1718 1572 .915 2
2008 - Antero Niittymaki 32 1805 15 8 6 1 83 2.76 947 864 .912 1

Pittsburgh


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Marc-Andre Fleury 62 3641 35 18 7 5 162 2.67 1850 1688 .912 4

Penalties

No OtF preview would be complete without a look at Penalty Plus/Minus, to see which players will head to, or send other players to, the box:

 Philadelphia Penalties Drawn Pittsburgh Penalties Drawn
Player Draws Fouls Pen +/- Player Draws Fouls Pen +/-
Daniel Carcillo 59 59 0 Evgeni Malkin 62 39 +23
Scott Hartnell 48 61 -13 Sidney Crosby 43 29 +14
Mike Richards 44 24 +20 Matt Cooke 30 35 -5
Arron Asham 36 37 -1 Eric Godard 29 39 -10
Riley Cote 34 34 0 Jordan Staal 28 17 +11
Joffrey Lupul 26 26 0 Chris Kunitz 27 27 0
Penalties Taken Penalties Taken
Scott Hartnell 48 61 -13 Evgeni Malkin 62 39 +23
Daniel Carcillo 59 59 0 Eric Godard 29 39 -10
Braydon Coburn 19 38 -19 Matt Cooke 30 35 -5
Arron Asham 36 37 -1 Brooks Orpik 25 34 -9
Riley Cote 34 34 0 Bill Guerin 22 30 -8
Jeff Carter 19 34 -15 Sidney Crosby 43 29 +14

The Prediction

This is going to be an incredibly spirited affair, but in the end I like the Pittsburgh Penguins. They are playing well under new coach Dan Bylsma, and I think the difference here will be special teams; the Flyers just take too many penalties, and the Penguins should be able to make them pay for it.

NHL Playoffs Blog Coverage, Schedule and Scores - SB Nation

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