The 2013-14 regular season is coming to an end and it sure has been a crazy ride for the Flyers and their fans. With only 7 games remaining on the Flyers’ schedule I wanted to take some time and look forward to what the first round of playoff. At this point the Flyers have yet to lockup a playoff spot, but according to www.sportsclubstats.com they have a 99.3% chance of punching their ticket to the first round.
Here are a couple possible match ups that the Flyers could be a part of in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
1. Flyers v. Rangers
The Rangers and Flyers hold the second and third spots in the division, respectively. With the new playoff format it seems that the two teams are heading right for a first round match up. The teams split the 4 game season series, each grabbing both victories on home ice.
For the Flyers, this match up could cause some real problems.
Over the last few seasons they have struggled to find wins against the Rangers, especially at Madison Square Garden where the Flyers have not won in their last 8 games. It is going to be extremely important for the Flyers to grab home ice advantage if this match up does occur. As of now, they sit 3 points back of the Rangers with 2 games in hand. The closer and closer these teams get to the playoffs the more and more likely this match up is looking.
2. Flyers v. Bruins
Again, this is a match up that I would not want to see the Flyers a part of in the first round. This scenario plays out if the Flyers slip out of the top 3 in the division and into the second wildcard spot. This is assuming that the Bruins do not lose the #1 overall seed in the conference and that both Columbus and Detroit finish with more points than the Philly. The Flyers have a 3 point lead on the Detroit and a 4 point lead on Columbus with all teams having 7 games left to play.
3. Flyers v. Penguins
This is the match up I’m sure a lot of us would like to see. The Penguins would hold home ice advantage, putting them right where the Flyers want them. It’s no secret that the Flyers and Penguins have played well on each others home ice over the last few seasons, particularly the Flyers at the Consol Energy Center. Honestly though, who wouldn’t want to see a repeat of the playoff series that was had between these two teams in the 2011-12 playoffs? Aside from that, I think that this series would provide the best chance for the Flyers to walk away with a first round series win. For this series to happen Columbus will have to jump the Flyers in the division standings, while the Flyers maintained a lead over Detroit for the first wildcard spot.
4. Flyers v. Blue Jackets
I think of the 4 possibilities this is the least likely. For this match up to happen Columbus would have to be almost perfect in their remaining games while the Rangers dropped out of a top 3 position in the division. I don’t see either of these things happening.
As of now, there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Flyers first round match up. I think that a Flyers v. Rangers series is the most likely by a wide margin. I think that a match up between either Bruins or Penguins has a relatively even chance of occurring, but that is only if the first scenario does not play out.
The Flyers have a huge game against the Blue Jackets tomorrow that will hopefully clear some of this speculation up.
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