Saturday, August 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Flyers-Penguins in Round 1

The Flyers and Penguins will face off in the first round of the NHL playoffs.

Flyers-Penguins in Round 1

AP

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.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com Reach Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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