The Pittsburgh Penguins will begin their quest for a third consecutive Stanley Cup championship with what should be a tough first round series against a streaky Philadelphia Flyers team. The star-studded Penguins have an embarrassment of offensive riches but offsetting that has been the play of goaltender Matt Murray. Murray was not himself this season and also had to battle through injuries most of the way. Despite backstopping the past two Stanley Cup championships his play down the stretch has caused concern that he may not be up to task for a third title run.
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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Date and Time: Series opens Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 7 p.m. ET
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
NHL Odds at Betcris: Check Back Later
Penguins vs. Flyers TV Coverage: Check Listings
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers will open their best of seven Eastern Conference playoff series on Wednesday, April 11 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. ET. Game two in Pittsburgh is set for Friday, April 13 at 7 p.m. ET. Game three will be on Sunday, April 15 at 3 p.m. ET at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Game four is in Philly as well on Wednesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. ET. If necessary game five will be in Pittsburgh on Friday, April 20. Game six would be in Philadelphia on Sunday, April 22. Game seven would be in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, April 24. Game times will be determined for the final three games as needed.
Players to Watch
Pittsburgh is led by center and team captain Sidney Crosby, who had 29 goals and 60 assists on the season. Center Evgeni Malkin was the Pens leading scorer with 42 goals and 56 assists. Right wing sniper Phil Kessel had 34 goals and 58 assists. Defenseman Kris Letang is a top quarterback with nine goals and 42 assists.
Philadelphia left wing Claude Giroux led the Flyers with 34 goals and 68 assists with a plus-28.
Matt Murray posted a subpar save percentage of .907 with a 2.92 goals against average for Pittsburgh in 49 games. Brian Elliott has returned to the Flyers lineup after missing several weeks due to injury. Elliott had a .909 save percentage with a 2.66 goals against average.
The Penguins boast the top ranked power play in the NHL. Problematic for the Flyers is a penalty killing unit that ranked an abysmal 29th in the league. That is not a promising combination for Philadelphia.
Pittsburgh finished 47-29-4-2 with a home record of 30-9-2-0 and a road mark of 17-20-2-2. The Penguins went under the total in just 33 of their 82 games. Pittsburgh ranked third in the NHL for goal scoring but a disturbing 20th for goals against. The Penguins finished second to the Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division.
Philadelphia finished 42-26-7-7 on the season which was good for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers were 22-13-3-3 at home and 20-13-4-4 on the road. Philly ranked 12th in the NHL for goal scoring and 15th for goals against.
Pittsburgh has dominated this series with nine wins in their last 12 games against the Flyers. Seven of the last eight in this series have gone over the total. The Penguins won all four meetings against the Flyers this season.
Penguins vs. Flyers Free Picks
Pittsburgh was not as consistent as their past two Stanley Cup seasons but they have far too much for the Flyers in this series. While this rivalry matchup may get dirty and nasty Pittsburgh’s talent will eventually overwhelm the Flyers. Penguins vs. Flyers Score Series Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins to win series in five games.
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