|Philadelphia Flyers||New York Rangers|
|5-on-5 Close SF/60||28.2||23rd||34.2||1st|
|5-on-5 Close SA/60||32.0||25th||28.7||13th|
|5-on-5 Close Save %||.918||22nd||.927||12th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.59||1st||3.22||19th|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.85||29th||2.83||2nd|
The Philadelphia Flyers' season got off to a poor start which cost Peter Laviolette his job as head coach just three games in, but over time new bench boss Craig Berube righted the ship and led the Flyers to a 3rd-place finish in the Metropolitan Division. As usual, Claude Giroux drives the attack up front, bolstered by Jakub Vorachek, Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell, while the blueline features aging defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Mark Streit as the two top point-producers. Perhaps the most surprising development in Philly was that Steve Mason turned in a respectable season as their #1 goaltender, posting a .917 save percentage with four shutouts.
As for the Rangers, they've engineered a successful transition to life under new head coach Alain Vignault, finishing 2nd in the mighty Met while going through a heart transplant along the way. Team captain Ryan Callahan, who was headed towards unrestricted free agency with dimming chances to re-sign with the Rangers, was traded to Tampa Bay for former league MVP and two-time scoring champ Martin St. Louis, who was disgruntled in Tampa.
The funny thing about the Rangers is that a guy even smaller than the 5'8" St. Louis is leading the team in scoring, Mats Zuccarello. At 5'7", "the Hobbit" has overcome long odds to establish himself as a force at the NHL level.
These two teams split their four meetings during the regular season, and they've met 10 times previously in the playoffs, with Philadelphia winning six series to New York's four, with the most recent series being the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals, won by the Flyers on their way to being swept in the Cup Final by Detroit.
OTF Staff Picks
Dirk: The Rangers could be a dark horse in the East, and I like them to make short work of the Flyers. New York in 5.
Jon: New York in 7. The Rangers are one of the stronger teams in the east, but the Flyers are going to give them all they can handle. If there is a must-watch series in this conference, this is it.
Jason: Flyers in 7, and I'm setting the over/under on fan arrests for the series at 500.
George: New York in 7. This is truly the biggest toss-up in the entire playoffs as far as I'm concerned. Both of these clubs have dazzled and flamed out spectacularly this season. Normally I'd give the Rangers the edge in goaltending, but Lundqvist's inconsistency this year has frustrated devoted Blue Shirts fans. The Flyers, though, still do not have Shea Weber on their roster, so Philadelphia will eventually fall in this epic clash between two of the more storied franchises on the east coast.
Jeremy: After a shaky start and many counting them out this year, the Flyers are playing with house money. Playing a loose style of hockey against the conservative efforts of Vignault, Giroux and company will win a hard fought series in 7 games.
Flyers vs Rangers Schedule
|Game||Date||Time (ET)||Eastern Conference First Round||National TV|
|1||Thu, Apr 17||7 p.m.||Philadelphia at NY Rangers||CNBC, TSN|
|2||Sun, Apr 20||Noon||Philadelphia at NY Rangers||NBC, TSN|
|3||Tue, Apr 22||8 p.m.||NY Rangers at Philadelphia||CNBC, TSN|
|4||Fri, Apr 25||7 p.m.||NY Rangers at Philadelphia||CNBC, TSN|
|5*||Sun, Apr 27||Noon||Philadelphia at NY Rangers||NBC, TSN|
|6*||Tue, Apr 29||TBD||NY Rangers at Philadelphia||TSN|
|7*||Wed, Apr 30||TBD||Philadelphia at NY Rangers||TSN|