Flyers-Pens: Youth vs. vets

Matt Read and the Flyers take on the Penguins in Game 1 Wednesday night. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)

The Flyers have a lot more inexperience than the Pittsburgh Penguins, but they don't see that as a detriment in their forthcoming best-of-seven series.

Flyers rookies played in 445 games this season, compared to 63 for the Penguins.

"I think it's an advantage," rookie winger Zac Rinaldo said after Tuesday's practice in Voorhees. "We're youthful and the young guys bring a little more energy than some of the  older guys might, so I think it's an advantage for sure."

"I'm excited; it's the best time of the year," said defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon, one of six rookies expected to play in Wednesday's series opener in Pittsburgh. "All the rookies proved during the season they could do a good job and do what the veterans do. All the rookies have about 50 games or more, so I don't think you can say we're rookies anymore. It's the playoffs and we're a team. Everybody's on the same page and the same level."


If the Flyers beat the Penguins in the first round, who will be most responsible?

Rinaldo, Bourdon, Matt Read (24 goals), Sean Couturier (13), Brayden Schenn (12) and Eric Wellwood are rookies who figure to play key roles against the Penguins. 

Defenseman Brian Strait is the only Penguins rookie expected to play in the series; he played in just nine regular-season games and was minus-2.

From here, the Flyers rookies won't be intimidated, and I agree with Rinaldo that they will bring energy.

But there's nothing like players who have playoff experience, especially those who have played on a Stanley Cup winner. The Penguins have 11 players who were on their 2009 team that won the Cup — the Flyers have four players who have captured a title — and that might sway the series in the Penguins' direction.

That, and a guy named Sidney Crosby.

(more to come)

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.