The Flyers ended the season on Sunday with 99 points, good for 5th in the Eastern Conference. Coming into this weekend, they held the upper hand on the 4th seed and home ice advantage. Not only that, the Hurricanes were also in the 5th position, a team which the Flyers held a 3-1 edge during the regular season. After a Hurricanes loss Saturday, a Penguins win Saturday, and a Flyers loss on Sunday, the Flyers fell to the 5th seed, and allowed the Penguins to take over home ice with the 4th seed.
This is the worst case scenario, because the Flyers wanted to get the 4th seed and home ice in the first round. And all they had to do was get a point in the final regular season game on Sunday against the Rangers. The Flyers were at home, with a 3-2 lead in the 3rd period, having only to go to OT to get 1 point, but they couldn't hang on. It wouldn't have been so bad if the Flyers ended up as the 5th seed, and the Hurricanes ended up as the 4th seed. I'm not saying the Flyers could beat the Hurricanes in a series, but I'm pretty sure every Flyers fan would much rather play the Hurricanes in series than the Penguins. The Penguins have been one of the best teams in hockey over the past 2 months of the regular season. They are a team with so much skill, with 2 of the best 3 players in the world in Crosby and Malkin. The Penguins can look so bad for games, or periods at a time, but have that switch they can just turn on, in which they are virtually unstoppable. Their goalie, Fleury, always seems to play well against the Flyers also.
It should be an exciting first round if nothing else, given the rivalry the Flyers and Penguins have forged these past few seasons. These teams do not like each other. Unfortunately, the Flyers have come out on the short end as of late, losing the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, 4 games to 1. The Penguins also hold a 4-2 edge on the Flyers this season. Playoff hockey is always extremely exciting, and it would definitely be a disappointment if the Flyers bowed out in the first round.