With the playoffs quickly approaching, each day brings the reinforced notion that the No. 4 Flyers could very well be paired up with the fifth-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in a first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. But even after a 3-1 drubbing by the Flyers, in which neither Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby registered a shot on net (first time in two years), the Penguins remain strangely, almost over compensating with confidence.
“If we meet them in the playoffs, I think everyone will be confident that if we keep playing the way we did [yesterday], we’ll be in good shape,” goalie Marc-Andre Fleury told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
After defeating the Flyers, four games to one in the 2007-08 Eastern Conference playoffs, confidence should be high for the Penguins, that a rematch would produce similar results.
“We know we can beat them,” Pascal Dupuis said. “We beat them in the playoffs last year.”
After the Flyers ended the Penguins’ 12-game unbeaten in regulation streak in Pittsburgh, the Penguins seemed to have to reinforce themselves, more than the media, that they still believe they are the better team. All this, while the Flyers side remaining quiet and focused on the upcoming game Devils.
“We’re hoping we can take some steps from where we were last year,” Flyers’ coach John Stevens said. “You have a rivalry coming out of the playoff situation we had last year, so the games mean a lot. There are a lot of feelings there left from the last couple of years.”
The Penguins are not the same team they were last year and maybe they know that deep down. There is no doubt the Penguins have offensive weapons that can be dangerous in a special teams war. But in a physical seven-game series, the Pens would play right into the Flyers’ strong point. And with the Flyers’ biggest problem being consistency and motivation, was it a smart move to give them more of a reason to prove the over-confident, trash talking Penguins wrong?