Flyers Faithful is pleased to have Kevin Christmann from Of Ice and Men, Danny Ricciardi from The Orange Update, Kevin Keating from Broad Street Buzz, and our own Craig Forsythe participate in the current iteration of Five Questions. This is the first of a five part series focusing on the playoffs.
What is the biggest obstacle that stands between the Flyers and the Stanley Cup?
Kevin Christmann: Aside from their youth at forward, and the lack of a shutdown center; I think the biggest obstacle the Flyers have to overcome is themselves. They’ve proven to be notoriously slow starters, and are forced to come from behind time and time again. They’ve also very rarely played a full 60 minutes. There always seems to be a period, and lately it’s been the 1st, where they don’t have their legs and it costs them. If they can start fast, play a full 60 minutes, and continue playing well at Home (like they have of late), they should be a real contender.
Danny Ricciardi: The biggest obstacle has to be any team in the Atlantic Division plus the Boston Bruins. Whether it is the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins or New Jersey Devils, the Flyers will have their hands full. Against those teams, the Flyers will have to play with a physical edge, keep a fast pace, and get their offense back into form. It’ll take a combination of timely scoring and a continuation of the solid defensive and goaltending play to beat any one of those teams in a 7 game series. The Penguins have a ridiculous 17-3-1 record in their last 21 games. They only have 1 regulation loss in the month of March. If we match up against the Pens in the first round, it’s going to take a Herculean effort to take them down. To me, the Penguins are going to be the team to beat, certainly in the Eastern Conference. But I do like our chances against them. We’re 3-1 against them so far on the season. I like the way the Flyers match up against them much better than the Rangers (0-5 on the season) and the Boston Bruins (1-1-2 on the year). I think any one of the four aforementioned teams will give us a challenge, but if this team plays to their potential (and for a full 60 minutes), there’s not a team in this league we can’t beat.
Kevin Keating: The Atlantic Division. Four of the top five teams in the East are the Rangers, Penguins, Flyers and Devils. They’re all from the Atlantic Division. The road to the cup will more than likely have to go through one of these teams. The Flyers have had their fair share of success, and failures against these teams making any a difficult one. With all of that said however, the Flyers have the ability to beat all of these teams. Moving beyond the regular season results will be a tough mental huddle to beat, however.
Craig Forsythe: Their first-round opponent. Right now, it seems as though the Flyers will most likely finish fifth in the conference, meaning they’ll either play the New York Rangers or Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. The Rangers are a team the Flyers haven’t been able to figure out this season and the Penguins have recently had Flyer-killer Sidney Crosby return to the line-up and are one of the hottest teams in the league. Philly ended the Penguins’ winning streak a couple weeks ago, but the Pens’ experience in the postseason gives them an advantage over the Flyers in a playoff series. I think if the Flyers can beat the Rangers or Penguins it will help the rookies get rid of the butterflies, as well as build confidence for Bryzgalov and the defense. In the second round, with confidence and momentum on their side, I think the Flyers can beat whoever they play, whether it’s the Bruins or the Atlantic Division opponent they didn’t play in the opening round.