The Montreal Canadiens beat the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of their first round series, which means that the Flyers will face off against the Boston Bruins in the 2nd round. The Canadiens unexpectedly came back from 3 games to 1 down to the Capitals, and won the last three, two of which were in Washington.
With the Canadiens win, the #6, #7, and #8 seeds all advanced in the Eastern Conference. The only better seed to advance was #4 Pittsburgh. Since hockey re-seeds the teams in the 2nd round, the #7 seeded Flyers will play the #6 seeded Bruins. The Flyers will travel to Boston for Game 1 on Saturday at 12:30 pm.
I think this is very good news for the Flyers, as the Capitals are by far a better team than the Bruins. The Capitals and Bruins are almost complete opposites, as the Capitals had one of the best offenses the NHL has seen in quite some time, and the Bruins do not score many goals, but play very good defensively, and have one of the best young goalies in the NHL.
Even though the Capitals struggle defensively and in between the pipes, they are just too dangerous to want to face in a playoff series. The Capitals had the most points in the NHL by far, and scored the most goals by far. By playing the Bruins, the Flyers might even be the favorite, especially if Brian Boucher can keep playing the way he has been. The Flyers are the better offensive team in this series.
It won't be easy, since the Flyers will start the series without Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter, and now Ian Laperriere. Laperriere has been declared out of the playoffs after visiting with neurosurgeon experts from the University of Pittsburgh. The Flyers will need to stay out of the penalty box against the Bruins. They did not do this against the Devils, and the penalty kill is one of the main reasons they Flyers advanced, and one of the main reasons the penalty kill was so effective was because of Laperriere. He will not be easily replaced on the penalty kill. Simon Gagne could return as early as Game 3.
If the Flyers want to win, they need to get continued good play from the leaders on the team Mike Richards, Chris Pronger, and Kimmo Timonen. Obviously, Boucher needs to continue to be solid in net. The Flyers will continue to need to get Claude Giroux, and Danny Briere to keep playing the way they did the last 2 games of the Devils series, especially without Carter and Gagne in the lineup. The Flyers went 2-1-1 against the Bruins this year, the 1 being an overtime loss in the New Years Classic at Fenway Park. Boucher played 1 of those games against the Bruins and picked up a 3-1 victory. As mentioned earlier, Game 1 will be Saturday at 12:30.