Penguins expect Flyers to respond to rout

2018 NHL Playoffs: Western Conference Preview

Both, by the way, are firsts for the franchise founded in 1999. The Lightning will cut short the Penguins' aim at a three-peat by beating them in the conference finals.

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS How They Win: Dating back to his University of North Dakota days, coach Dave Hakstol has always gotten better results in the second half of the season. Coach Mike Sullivan clearly knows how to pull the right levers, and the Pens are practically old hands at this whole championship thing. He wasn't so much predicting another mid-June celebration as he was stating the obvious.

"This is a record setting year for us as National Hockey League handle", Las Vegas Superbook's Jay Kornegay said Wednesday morning.

There are plenty of story lines heading into the playoffs this postseason, and matchups galore that'll dictate how games unfold in the next few months. They've dominated. They've rallied.

How much does Michal Neuvirth rate with the Flyers right now?

They have a perennial Hart Trophy candidate in Claude Giroux.

"They kind of did everything that we focused on in the prescout, they just did it really well", Elliott said.

The Flyers, however, present a unique challenge.

The Vegas Golden Knights opened their first playoff series by beating the Kings, 1-0 as Marc-Andre Fleury turned back 30 shots for his 11th career postseason shutout.

Neuvirth hasn't really been a part of the Flyers since February 20.

The Penguins have the experience, skills, players and talent to go all the way.

While the majority of the faces that will take the ice at PPG Paints Arena are different, the history of antagonism between the two clubs remains.

All that before Crosby got involved. Ovechkin led the league in goals with 49, but will this finally be the year that he leads the Capitals to the finals? The last time I checked, they got to beat us four times. We're talking Flyers goaltending in a playoff series again.

The Penguins started their campaign against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night with a 7-0 win where Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin showed their brilliance. At the end of the night, the only two players who didn't have a negative plus-minus rating were Oskar Lindblom and Travis Sanheim, both rookies. "So, when you get to lift it, it's really worth it". Sometimes you fail the test. You name it, they're better than Colorado.

Some things to look for as Philadelphia tries to put an abrupt end to Pittsburgh's bid at winning a fourth Cup during the Crosby Era. This series was tighter, with the Penguins holding a 3-2 series lead heading into Game 6 in Philadelphia. Through 83 regular season outings, 45 of its games have gone over the total, while 36 have gone under and just two have pushed.

If the Flyers can not stay out of the box, Crosby and Kris Letang will bury them early.

When Predators players think about those Ducks series and other tense ones over the past several years, they know there haven't been a lot of fights - and they're not alone. "For us it's to make sure we minimize those chances".

The Penguins are 6-1 in their last seven meetings versus the Flyers in Pittsburgh. There are no extra-period gimmicks in the playoffs.

The Flyers scuffled through most of the first, going 0-for-2 on the power play while Elliott looked quite shaky in net. Pittsburgh' goaltender Matt Murray will need to return to playoff form as he has in the past, if the Penguins want another chance at the Cup. He was back on the ice for the third time since his latest lower-body injury... Winnipeg is the better team (on paper at home), but Minnesota is no joke, they could easily walk away with a series win if they find a way to slow down this Winnipeg offence.

I couldn't watch, but I was also rooting for Florida on Sunday night, and the Panthers - with nothing to play for - won at Boston to keep the Bruins from finishing ahead of the Lightning.