The second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs get underway tonight in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. Both the second and third seeds in each conference were blasted from the playoffs in the first round, leaving me with a 4-4 record after going 7-1 in the first round last spring. That won’t stop me from offering my second round predictions:
(1) Pittsburgh vs. (7) Ottawa
The Pick: Senators in 7
The Reason: Yes, the Senators were awful impressive in their quick-and-dirty dispatching of the second-seeded Canadiens in Round 1, but I had the Habs pegged as a first round flop for the last few weeks of the regular season. This pick is more about what the Penguins didn’t do (play defense) in the first round against the Islanders, more than anything else. That’s not a knock against the Islanders, who I believe to be a fast and scrappy team. Marc-Andre Fleury was a sieve in Round 1; he’s given up 40 goals in his last two playoffs series. Tomas Vokoun was better, but I don’t know if he’s enough to bail out the Penguins – especially against a better opponent. It’s tough to pick against Sidney Crosby, but the Senators are getting healthier (Jason Spezza is now skating in practice) and I have a funny feeling about this Ottawa team.
While the Stanley Cup playoffs are percolating here, Day 4 of the World Championships is coming to a close overseas – and there are plenty of positives for the nine Flyers participating in the tournament.
Jake Voracek is leading the Czech Republic in scoring. Ilya Bryzgalov posted a shutout in his first start. Erik Gustafsson has posted more points for Sweden than Gabriel Landeskog.
Here is a quick compilation of stats and notes:
The Flyers are not heading to the playoffs this season. CineSport's Noah Coslov and the Daily News' Frank Seravalli discuss the biggest questions for the Flyers as they enter the offseason.
OTTAWA -- As the Flyers begin to pack their bags Sunday to scatter around the world for what will be a long summer, a few will need to keep their skates sharp.
Five Flyers players have committed to represent their countries in the upcoming World Championships in Finland and Sweden. The tournament runs May 3-19 - with the puck dropping in just a matter of four days.
Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Matt Read and Luke Schenn have all said “yes” to an invitation from Team Canada general manager Steve Yzerman. Only Schenn (2009 silver medal in Switzerland) has participated in the tournament before; Giroux and Read both won a world junior gold medal as teammates in 2008. Read has never worn a Team Canada sweater.
OTTAWA -- Standing next to each other on the blue line, with the lights dimmed and the first notes of ‘O Canada’ playing, Claude Giroux tapped Jason Akeson on the shinpad to wish him good luck.
Akeson leaned over to Giroux and said: “Great song.”
The two laughed.
Prior to the Flyers' final home game of the season against the Islanders, the team presented their annual awards.
For the first time in three seasons, Claude Giroux did not capture the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the Flyers' Most Valuable Player.
Here's how the awards shook out:
And then there was one.
Warrior Kimmo Timonen has joined the Flyers’ list of walking wounded.
Now, Luke Schenn will be the Flyers’ only opening day defenseman to finish the season in the lineup during this forgettable, 97-day season.
A mere minutes into the game and 21,273 fans buzzing in Bell Centre, Kent Huskins remembers curling around the Flyers’ net and finding a teammate along the boards.
He made the pass. And everything went black.
“I remember making the pass,” Huskins said. “Everything got pretty fuzzy from there.”
The Flyers gathered for their annual team photo and did not practice, so there was no player availability. Steve Mason's impressive performance on Tuesday night still resonates, though, so let's stick with that theme.
It was a night of firsts for Mason. Not only did he capture a win in his first start at the Wells Fargo Center since joining the team on April 3, but he also netted his highest save total (38) in more than a full calendar year.
It was also the Flyers' first win of the season without Ilya Bryzgalov (18-16-3) in net. Michael Leighton was 0-1-0; Brian Boucher was 0-2-0.
Flyers defenseman Bruno Gervais will miss the rest of the season.
Gervais will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair a torn stomach muscle.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said, in a statement, that Gervais "will be out indefinitely."