Flyers know they're underdogs
SCOTT HARTNELL said he is "not a Las Vegas oddsmaker," but teammate Kimmo Timonen has a pretty good idea where the money will be flowing in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Hint: Not many will be giving the Flyers much of a chance against the New York Rangers.
"No question, they're going to be favorites," Timonen said. "They're really quick. They're smart. They're obviously a really good team. I won't say it's going to be easy, it's going to be tough games. But I'm really looking forward to it."
Two X-factors - the fact that the Flyers haven't won in eight tries at Madison Square Garden since Feb. 20, 2011, and Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist - likely will be swinging the action from Broad Street to Broadway.
Lundqvist is 27-13-3 with a 2.49 goals-against average, .916 save percentage and four shutouts in 45 career appearances against the Flyers. This was, however, his worst statistical season since 2008-09.
The Flyers and Rangers split their season series - two wins apiece for the home team. And, since Nov. 7, the Flyers (38-20-9) actually closed with a better record than the Rangers (37-23-6).
"They seem to have our number at home," Hartnell said. "That's the biggest thing. Every time we've gone in, it's been a battle. We haven't played our game and gotten away from simple hockey. If we play gritty games, with speed on the forecheck, I think we'll get some opportunities."
For one second, Scott Hartnell lost his cool yesterday afternoon, and it could end up costing him dearly. Hartnell was handed a 5-minute major penalty for spearing Hurricanes defenseman Brett Bellemore with less than 7 minutes to play in the season finale.
"I was going to the net and I got a slash on my wrist," Hartnell said. "I turned around and obviously stuck the guy and there was a little bit of a melee. Those things happen."
Hartnell, who hasn't been suspended since Nov. 27, 2007, will have his stick-swinging incident reviewed by the NHL's Department of Player Safety. Since Brendan Shanahan left last week to become the president of the Maple Leafs, new disciplinarian Stephane Quintal's track record is mostly unknown.
Quintal, 45, has been a part of the department since 2011. Quintal, who played in 1,037 NHL games as a defenseman, also will be in charge for the duration of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Hartnell, who posted 20 goals and 32 assists in the regular season, is more likely to face a fine than any other penalty.
"I think they review all 5-minute penalties," Hartnell said. "I'm sure they're looking at it and seeing if there's something to look at. It wasn't the smartest thing to do, especially going into the playoffs."