Flyers-Penguins in Round 1

The Flyers won in the afternoon. The Penguins won at night.

Now the matchups are set: Flyers-Pens in Round 1.

This is, uh, less than optimal.

Home ice is still to be determined. The Flyers need a point against the Rangers on Sunday in order to clinch fourth place in the Eastern Conference and the home-ice advantage against Pittsburgh. It is certainly worth having but isn't necessarily going to be consequential. Remember: the Flyers won plenty of road games in the playoffs last spring, including an overtime Game 7 at Washington in the first round.

But Pittsburgh will be an absolute pain. It isn't so much that the Penguins knocked the Flyers out of the semifinals last spring. It's that, after a slow start and the firing of coach Michel Therrien, the Penguins have been uber-hot under new coach Dan Bylsma. They play a more aggressive style. They still have Evgeny Malkin and Sidney Crosby. They beat the Flyers in five out of six games this season, one in overtime and one in a shootout.

Four-five matchups, by definition, are slam-bang kinds of series. The Flyers have played pretty well when cornered this season, when they needed to play well, but have had some trouble with prosperity at times. Well, they're cornered here. Slam-bang about says it all.

Carolina would have been finer.

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