Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers preview and prediction

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Too bad the Predators and Jets face a potential second-round matchup more befitting of a West final.

How do you do that?

The Devils began the season 22-9-6, with scorching starts from Brian Gibbons, Jesper Bratt, and Brian Boyle helping the Devils wildly exceed expectations. And please stop with the stuff about it being insane or stupid to try to compete with the NFL and college football.

Even if Murray's first full season as Pittsburgh's firmly established No. 1 goalie hardly felt like a holiday at times.

And don't worry about March Madness. The talent the Penguins have can be lethal and the Flyers will have to put their slumping penalty kill season behind them and start to work on improving it, as it could win or lose them the series.

For some players, it can be a game-to-game adjustment. I'm 23. Recently. I just graduated from college with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism.

Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos were the best one-two punch in the National Hockey League this season. The top defenseman Cam Fowler will likely miss this series with a shoulder injury, and Gibson's status is in question after he missed the last three games of the regular season. It ain't that tough.

"I still pinch myself nearly every day that you get to be a part of something like this", said Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray, who won each of the past two Stanley Cups while technically a rookie under National Hockey League rules. From there, the Devils fell off a cliff, stumbling to 11-16-2 over the following 29 games. Both Dallas and Toronto are offensively gifted teams, so to keep the Avs tied or ahead throughout the third was a great sight to see.

The Penguins took all four meetings between the teams during the regular season, scoring five goals each time.

And what about all of those back-to-back games?

But the Flyers are counting on Elliott to be their go-to goalie.

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The NHL should learn from baseball and stay in town for a while. 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. "Through this exciting partnership with Hulu, the players will not only be the focal point on the ice as they battle for the Stanley Cup, but they will also drive fans to the action with these exclusive video vignettes". They played a home game against the Florida Panthers Saturday night. "We're just going to play". Of all the unlikely scenarios for this team this season, playoffs had to be at the top of the list. Visit SportsLine to get National Hockey League odds and picks for every Stanley Cup Playoff game, all from the advanced computer model on a red-hot 21-8 National Hockey League run. But for numerous Knights, this will be their first time playing hockey in mid-April.

The Penguins had a home and home against the Buffalo Sabres on December first and second.

Crosby pushed the glove away with his stick and reignited a melee in a good, old-fashioned Pittsburgh-Philadelphia playoff game that featured three fights, way more scrums and 158 penalty minutes.

It would be a lot less wear and tear on the players and playing consecutive games against the same opponent can create a lot of extra interest and intrigue.

"You never know what can happen", Crosby said. They'll be taking on a Kings team that is defensively sound, allowing the fewest goals in the league and has a championship core that won a pair of Cups in 2012 and 2014.

Now to be honest, I'm gutted this series is even happening.

It all begins in round one as teams will play through their respective divisions en route to the conference finals.

But if the Penguins are going to have a real chance to win a third straight title, their defense must be on point and playing consistently for four rounds.

At the very last hour of the trade deadline day, the Columbus Blue Jackets made a major splash by adding dynamic goal-scorer and play-maker Thomas Vanek.

OddsShark has released their latest odds to win the Stanley Cup. Minnesota wasn't too far behind going 27-6-8 at Xcel Energy Center.

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