Good evening, everyone. The playoffs have finally arrived, and the Pens are actually close to healthy for a change. The Pens spent most of the second half of the season impersonating a fireball, going through the NHL like an open razor. Their reward? They get the Flyers, who may be the 2nd best team in the East and the one team amongst the elite that have a winning record against the Pens. (In a just world, the NHL would change the rules and do away with the idea of division winners being guaranteed a top-3 seed. The NHL is not just. Moving on.) Both teams are under a fair amount of pressure this season. The Flyers, of course, are hoping to break the 1975 streak. Their goalies are each hoping to be the first goalie their fans trust since young Ron Hextall. There's a lot on the line.
The Pens have a lot on the line as well, even though they won the Cup recently. 2010 was a hangover year and could be excused. Last year saw the Pens get nuked from orbit by injuries and was excused. This year? The Death Star is fully operational. There are no excuses. And as those of us who remember the 90s, you don't know how long the window to win titles stays open. And unfortunately, the one team capable of stopping their run in the East is the team they draw first. There's a saying about how things that can be done easy aren't worthwhile or something that applies here. The good news for the Pens is they have more talent, the best player, and the best goalie in the series. Those three things usually are enough to win. There's a reason Vegas and computers like the Pens to win this series.
The Pens fan in me wants the Pens to unleash holy hell and end this in 4 games; the non-homer in me knows that isn't going to happen. The hockey world will be watching this and expecting blood and blood by the gallon. I imagine these teams will oblige.
As always, I expect noise from you folk. Try to actually keep the photos and gifs Pens-related for a change. Every game in the playoffs matters.