With the Pens currently playing lights out its not out of the question that these eastern conference titans can catch the Rangers and end up the top seed in the eastern conference. The Flyers goaltending and team defense has kept them on the heels of the Pens but scoring has diminished in the midst of the rise of Bryzgalov. The two teams will meet twice in the remaining games and the Flyers get a shot at the Rangers as well. At this point it appears these two teams will be battling for home ice advantage in what looks to be the premiere matchup in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals.
The interest of this inevitable series is the stunning play of superstar Evgeni Malkin as he clearly emerged as the team leader in the absense of Crosby. Now Crosby is back and the Pens are nothing short of lethal. Claude Giroux has come out of the shadows with increased ice time with the dealings of Richards and Carter. It was inevitable that Giroux would increase his point production with major minutes as well as serving on both special teams units. Scott Hartnell, paired up with Jagr and Giroux has found himself having a career season along with newcomers Wade Simmonds and Max Talbot. 25 year old Matt Reid has also surfaced as an established rookie in his mid twenties. For the Pens, James Neil has been a PP specialist this year finding the net moreso than any other player along with the Flyers Hartnell.
No longer does this rivaly have the head to head clash of Richards and Crosby, nor will Chris Pronger be available to try to stop the train known as Malkin. This series, if it happens, will write the newest chapter in the Battle of PA saga. The well established and now joined by their captain Sidney Crosby Pens will be looking to extend the dominace of recent playoff series' against the young gun new look Flyers. Giroux will now go head to head with Crosby and the aging Jagr will get a chance to play on the other side with a team nobody thought he would ever play for. The possibilities are endless and its a no brainer that neither team is winning in 4. Hopefully if this round 1 battle comes to fate, this thread can serve as the fuse to be lit by fans of both teams.
Schedule is tough both ways so edge definitely goes to the Rangers.
Penguins need to beat the Rangers and then need to win one more game than the Rangers in addition.
Actually, they need to beat us and win another 2 more than us in the remaining games, since we won tonight. If we go 3-2, that would give us 111 points. Pens would need to go 6-0 to get to 112. 5-0-1 wouldn't cut it since we hold the tiebreaker.
the Pens are in some deep trouble without Letang. hopefully his rest on their road trip (which he will not take part in) will help him heal.
that said, i still want the Flyers and Pens in the first round. to be the best, you have to beat the best, and few teams play the Pens hard like the Flyers do (them and the Rangers but the Flyers have been the Pens' toughest opponent this season IMO).
i hate the Flyers, i really do. i hate everything about that franchise. however, Flyers/Pens ALWAYS makes for some great hockey. the first round with them against each other will not disappoint.