Single: The Devils might not knock off Tampa Bay, but like Connor McDavid and Austin Matthews a year ago, Taylor Hall will warm quickly to the task of his first career playoff appearance, doing enough to scare the Lightning on his own. When Crosby was asked afterward why he did it, the Penguins captain responded: "I don't like them". Those were the days. The Penguins answered with five straight goals to win 5-3 and clinch the series.
The chase began almost a year ago, when Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan addressed hundreds of thousands of fans following a second Stanley Cup championship parade through choked downtown streets in as many summers. Interestingly enough, New Jersey was 3-0 in the regular season against Tampa.
"The players are at their best, the games at their most intense and fans as passionate as ever each spring when the NHL playoffs get underway", said Sandra Monteiro, NHLPA Chief of Global Business Strategies. The Penguins power play is cranking along at a franchise record of over 26 percent - and that's saying a ton when you consider that players such as Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr have been a big part of that history. From Michael Grabner in New Jersey to Rick Nash and Nick Holden in Boston, Derick Brassard in Pittsburgh and even Eric Staal in Minnesota, reasons exist to tune in regardless of which teams are playing. "When it's us or it's them, that's how you find those rivalries". I will let you be the judge.
After finishing the season 29th in the league on the penalty kill with a 75.8 penalty kill percentage, this could be where the Penguins hurt the Flyers most.
Thanks to the NHL's stubborn devotion toward its scatty divisional playoff format, the second- and fourth-best teams in each conference will collide in the first round.
Keith Wachtel, chief revenue officer and executive vice president for the National Hockey League, said: "Our main goal is to bring these memorable moments to the broadest possible audience, and partnering with a powerful brand like Hulu will allow us to drive deeper engagement with our fans".More news: Kourtney Kardashian Just Totally Trolled Kim's Bikini Photos
They play an old school style of hockey, which is ideal for a seven-game series. The team plays very fast, leaving opponents in fits as the Pens lock them down at both ends of the ice. There were 46 fights in the 1978 postseason alone and an incredible 85 in the 1988 playoffs. "It's just little things like that that really is the playoff intensity".
The Penguins don't appear to have the strength that they did in either of the past two years, so look for the Flyers to register a six-game upset.
Led by star forward Taylor Hall, the Devils are back in the playoffs for the first time since its run to the Final in 2012. He has no control over the latter - there are no guarantees when you make a living willfully putting yourself in front of a piece of rubber hurtling at you at various speeds from various angles - and he's not concerned about the former. Making a difference is more about scoring a big goal than leveling a big hit or punching someone in the face. Against just a so-so Pittsburgh blue line that's featured some notable Kris Letang slip-ups and allowed more goals than any other team in the playoffs, the Flyers should have plenty of chances to put pressure on Matt Murray. "I don't think any of us are trying to reflect on where this team stands".
Hockey fans will always remember Game 7 between these two teams in 2013.
The more they can keep the game at five-on-five - and the more they can control the puck, using a cycle game to slow down the Penguins - the better the Flyers' chances of getting out of this series alive. This switch has worked for the team so far, scoring in both games when it was called upon. "You never know what can happen", Crosby said. Well, now he's back with the top-ranked team in the postseason and I imagine itching to do it again-with better results. In this series, Hakstol's team will have to be extremely disciplined, and they will have to avoid getting into the zoom-around game with the Penguins. Where is the fun if everyone likes each other? It's nearly as though every tourist and drifter wanted a ticket on the expansion team to win it all just so they could save it as a souvenir when the Golden Knights ultimately bowed out. "It's been great hockey".