Round 1 staff prediction: Pens v. Flyers

Want to know what the LTP staff thinks about this upcoming series against Philadelphia? Who is going to be a difference maker? What is going to give the Penguins problems? Do the Flyers have a chance to dethrone the champs? How long is this series going to last?

Here is what the LTP staff has to say:

Noah Von Hofen

I think the Flyers will shock us out of the gate with their physical play and they have some momentum because they made the playoffs in the first place. I also think Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov will be big contributors for them. With that said, I think they will take a couple of games.
The Pens on the other hand are too stacked. We beat them on every aspect (offense, defense, goaltending). Eventually, that will take over and we will win the series. Also, Sid plays really well against the Flyers.
Prediction: Pens in 6

Chris Halicke

There’s a lot to anticipate with this new installment of the Battle of Pennsylvania. It’s set up to be a great series. Both teams are very similar: offensive firepower, a couple great defensemen, but overall a bit lacking in depth, and potentially inconsistent goaltending. There will be goals scored. Lots of them. I think the Pens prevail, however. They’re deeper up front and Matt Murray, while he has been questionable at times, had been superb in his two career Cup runs. He’s been there and done that.

Prediction: Pens in 6

Wyatt Fiedler

And here we go again. The inner-state rivals squaring off again to move on to the next chapter of the quest for the Stanley Cup. The Penguins finished just two points ahead of the Flyers in the regular season standing, but something to consider there is that the Penguins won five more games than the Flyers who got a hefty amount of their points from taking teams to overtime. This could prove effective against a Penguins team who has played a lot of hockey over the past couple of seasons and are on the brink of possibly being completely worn out. Something else to keep in mind is that Claude Giroux has had a career year attaining his first hat trick and a fulfilling achievement in modern hockey in reaching 100 points on the season, one of three players to reach the mark this season. The Flyers will look to follow his lead and build off of his success against the firepower offense and lackluster defense of the Penguins.

The Penguins haven’t given us much to be skeptical about despite a frighteningly high goals against total for the season. Which depending on you how you look at it could mean a lot or absolutely nothing. Pittsburgh heads into the playoffs with a (fingers crossed) healthy Matt Murray who struggled with health throughout the year, and his backups had to carry a lot of the workload this year which is a reason for the skewed goals against total. Not to mention, a struggle in our own defensive end of the ice. Although, that was also an issue heading in to each of the last two playoffs, so take that for what it is. Do not sleep on the offensive juggernaut of the Penguins who had three players reach the 80 point mark and had one of the most lethal power plays in the entire league. Phil Kessel lead the entire league in power play points with almost half of his points in the regular season coming on the power play. So, look for the Penguins to use the emotions of the rivalry to goad the Flyers into giving them the man advantage throughout the series.
All things considered, I am confident that the Penguins will make it past the Flyers in the first round, but at what cost? The Flyers have proven a worthy opponent to Pittsburgh and will likely fall to them in six games, but the damage that they will do to the Penguins may be costly to their quest for three straight Stanley cups.
Prediction: Pens in 6

Josh Boulton

The Penguins/Flyers series is going to be a masterpiece of skill. I’m expecting wide open north-south hockey with lots of scoring chances, yet relatively few goals on the board. Wayne Simmonds of Philadelphia is going to be the man of the series, but in the end the Penguins depth players will win the war for the Pittsburgh committee.

Prediction: Pens in 7

Connor Andrews

The Penguins and Flyers rivalry is finally back on the big stage, but it will be much different than the 2012 series in my opinion. I don’t think Sullivan will allow the Pens to get sucked into the Flyers’s games like Bylsma did. That said, Philly is still a very good team, with Giroux having an MVP Candidate worthy season. I predict that Matt Murray and the defense will preform the way we expect them to, and someone like Conor Sheary, Jake Guentzel, or Riley Sheahan will get hot and provide the Penguins with the depth scoring they need.

Prediction: Pens in 6

Lexi Waltz

The Battle of Pennsylvania always makes for a good game, whether it be regular season or a postseason series. Even though the Penguins swept the Flyers in their regular season matchups, they shouldn’t be underestimated. The emotion level is going to be extremely high and the fact that the Flyers have stepped their game up tremendously is an important factor.

The Penguins always perform well in the postseason. Specifically for this postseason, I think that players such as Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel are going to continue to perform well and even turn it up a notch. I think that Carl Hagelin, Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust, and Jake Guentzel are going to turn it way up this postseason. Those guys, aside from Guentzel and Rust, didn’t have their best season, but the playoffs is a place where they shine and I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform.

As for the Flyers, they have Claude Giroux who ended the season with a bang and will no doubt lead his team very well. The Flyers also have players like Jake Voracek, Shayne Gostisbehere, Wayne Simmonds, and Sean Couturier who will no doubt step it up for the postseason.

As for series length, it’s a bit of a toss up. I think it could either be a sweep or go all the way. Based on playoff history, the average series length between the two teams is 6 games.

Prediction: Pens in 6

Cody Flavell

The classic Penguins/Flyers rivalry commences again. After 6 years without playoff battles, the teams meet again to rekindle the rivalry. After the Penguins swept the season series, they will get home-ice advantage in this series.
They were virtually unstoppable at home this year, including their last 20 home games. I expect them to take the first two, split in Philadelphia, and win game five back at PPG Paints.
Prediction: Pens in 5

Brad Franjione

This series is not going to be as easy as everyone makes it. Despite the fact that the Penguins have advantages in almost every statistical category, the Flyers always pick up their game against the Pens. This isn’t going to be a repeat of 2012 in the sense of the fights, suspensions, etc. These teams are so different, and Mike Sullivan’s team will not stoop to that level. The Flyers are going to try to score with the Penguins, which is their one strength. Can they do it? No one has done it thus far in the last 2 seasons.

Giroux had a MVP season, Simmonds is a Penguins killer, and Murray didn’t necessarily have a stellar statistical season. I’m hoping he steps it up in the postseason, but he has been letting in a couple of soft goals every game, making it possible for Philly to win a crazy 5-4 or 6-5 type of game. They are capable of scoring goals and keeping up with the Penguins’ 5 goals per game they had against the Flyers in the regular season.

I think Philly stuns the Pens in game 1, but ultimately split at PPG Paints. They also split the next 2 at Wells Fargo Center. The Pens will win game 5 at home, fall in game 6, and win a close one in game 7 on home ice.

Prediction: Pens in 7

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