Tonight the Penguins begin their quest to win their 3rd straight Stanley Cup as they face the Philadelphia Flyers in the first-round of the playoffs.
Though the Penguins are going to give it their all to try and win the Cup for the 3rd straight season they will not overlook the journey.
The Penguins finished second in their division and were only two points ahead of the Flyers. Though they were close during the season, the favorite during this series seems to be the Penguins because of their recent success in the postseason.
The Penguins are also considered the likely favorite to advance in the series because as they start with home-ice advantage the Penguins were 30-9-2 during the regular season at PPG Paints Arena. Not to mention that the Penguins power play is one of the most successful in the league as they have succeed on 26.2% of opportunities. Furthermore, the Penguins have two star forwards with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malik who combined for 14 points during the 4 games series against the Flyers in the regular season.
Both the Penguins and Flyers have had players who shined above all during the regular season and for the Flyers it was Claude Grioux who finished 2nd in the league with 102 points and while the Penguins had Malik (98), Kessel (92) and Crosby (89) finish among the Top 10 in league scoring as well.
Both teams faced each other in the 1st round back in 2012. Philadelphia went on to upset the Penguins and advance in 6 games.
Key to a Penguins victory:
The Penguins have some of the best depth heading into the postseason. The offense and defense has risen to the occasion and with the skill set the Penguins have portrayed throughout the season they will succeed deep into the postseason.
Philadelphia has accepted the fact that this will be a tough series.
Key to a Flyers victory:
Not only with the Flyers have to play fast paced defense but they will have to get under the Penguins skin like they did back in 2012. If the Flyers can play aggressive and force opportunities throughout the game they can pull the upset much like they did 5 years ago.