NHL playoffs: Looking at the Flyers' competition in the Eastern Conference

FLYR08
Flyers captain Claude Giroux enters the playoffs is in the middle of the hottest stretch of his career.

Scouting the Eastern Conference

Matchups

Tampa Bay vs. New Jersey

Boston vs. Toronto

Washington vs. Columbus

Pittsburgh vs. Flyers

Team listed first has home-ice advantage. Series format: 2-2-1-1-1.

Eastern Conference Standings

Who’s hot

Claude Giroux, Flyers: Scored 18 points in the final nine games as the Flyers closed 5-1-3.

Taylor Hall, Devils: Had seven goals and eight assists as New Jersey went 7-0-1 with him in the lineup down the stretch.

Philipp Grubauer, Capitals: Went 10-3 with a .934 save percentage over his final 15 appearances.

Who’s not

Tyler Johnson, Lightning: One goal, minus-2 in his last nine games.

Val Filppula, Flyers: One goal, minus-9 since Jan. 21.

The Bruins: Could have been the conference’s No. 1 seed, but went 1-3-1 down the stretch and got the dangerous Maple Leafs in Round 1.

Odds to win the conference

By Vegas Vic

Open  Today
Tampa Bay 6-1 5-2
Boston 12-1 7-2
Washington 5-1 11-2
Toronto 10-1 11-2
Pittsburgh 4-1 6-1
Columbus 12-1 10-1
Flyers 20-1 12-1
New Jersey 50-1 15-1

Power-play rankings, season

  Rank* Pct.
Pittsburgh 1st 26.2
Toronto 2nd 25.0
Tampa Bay 3rd 23.9
Boston 4th 23.6
Washington 7th 22.5
New Jersey 10th 21.4
Flyers  15th  20.7 
Columbus 25th 17.2

Notable: The Flyers were just 24th at home (18.2 percent), but 4th on the road (23.3). Pittsburgh was 2nd at home (26.7), 1st on the road (25.4).

*Rankings out of 31 NHL teams

Penalty kill rankings, season

  Rank* Pct.
 Boston 3rd 83.7
New Jersey 8th 81.8
Toronto 11th 81.4
Washington 15th 80.3
Pittsburgh 17th 80.0
Columbus 27th 76.2
Tampa Bay 28th 76.1
Flyers  29th  75.8 

Notable: The Flyers had the worst penalty-kill percentage among the 16 playoff teams. Overall, they were 29th at home (74.5 percent) and 24th on the road (76.9). Pittsburgh was 21st at home (80.3) and 13th on the road (79.7).

*Rankings out of 31 NHL teams

Ranking the goalies

  1. Boston: Tuukka Rask was on a 10-0-1 roll before losing his final two. He led the conference in goals-against average (2.36) among goalies who played at least 41 games. Backup Anton Khudobin made 29 starts and had a .913 save percentage.
  2. Pittsburgh: Matt Murray, 23, can become just the third goalie in the last 50 years to win at least three consecutive Cups. Ken Dryden (1976-79) and Billy Smith (1980-83) are the others.
  3. Tampa Bay: Andrei Vasilevskiy had 41 wins the first three seasons of his career. He had 44 this year. This will be his first time entering the playoffs as a No. 1 goalie.
  4. Toronto: Frederik Andersen set a Maple Leafs record with 38 wins.
  5. Washington: Philipp Grubauer’s late-season surge gives the Capitals two options in the postseason. But is that a good idea? He and Braden Holtby split the work down the stretch.
  6. Columbus: Sergei Bobrovsky has yet to win a postseason series.
  7. Flyers: Pretty remarkable that the Flyers landed a No. 3 seed after playing goalie roulette for most of the season. Brian Elliott is coming off a shutout in the season finale.
  8. New Jersey: Keith Kinkaid took over for veteran Cory Schneider down the stretch and will make his postseason debut.

 

Camera icon Steven M. Falk / Staff
Matt Murray, shown here stopping Wayne Simmonds during a game last season, has won two Stanley Cups for the Penguins.

 

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