Thursday, April 26, 2012

'Who's Next?' field whittled to four

Great game last night in Boston, and great result -- you have to feel good for Mike Knuble to play a huge hand in the Capitals' seven-game classic win over the sllllooowwww Bruins.
Now comes two more seventh games tonight, with the Rangers hosting the Senators and the Panthers hosting the Devils.
First, a couple of predictions: The Rangers will finally play the way they're supposed to, and beat the Senators by a couple of goals. And the Devils will be bailed out by a Martin Brodeur who finally plays like he's 10 pounds a few years younger than what he really is, beating the Panthers in a game that starts at 8:30 and may not end until several hours later.
If those guesses pan out, the Flyers get the Devils, with a start probably Sunday at Noon. The Rangers and their greater market share would get the more prime-time kind of spot in an Eastern Conference Sunday doubleheader.

Now, if the first-round upset trend continues...
If the Senators beat the Rangers, the Flyers definitely start at home. They'd host either Washington (if New Jersey beats Florida) or Ottawa (if Florida beats New Jersey).
If the Rangers beat the Senators, the Flyers get the winner of Florida-New Jersey. Philly would get home advantage against the Devils, they'd start on the road if they play the Panthers.
All in all ... the Flyers have done exactly what they should this week. Ignore the odds of who they're going to play and instead have worked through three long practice days (so far) sharpening their systems while giving the guys who need it (Jagr, Briere, Timonen, injured players) the occasional rest day they need.


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