The Flyers and Devils renew their rivalry this afternoon as the two meet in the first game of their 2nd round NHL playoffs series. The Flyers, by virtue of being the higher seed, have home ice so games 1 & 2 will be at the Wells Fargo Center. The puck drops today at 3pm on NBC.
While the Flyers dispatched the Stanley Cup Penguins with relative ease, the Devils needed a massive comeback in their first round series with the Panthers. Facing elimination down 3-2, New Jersey won games 6 and 7 in overtime and double overtime respectively.
They story for the Devils was the overall shaky play of future hall of famer Martin Brodeur, who was actually pulled from game 3. However he did bounce back later in the series posting a 2.05 GAA and .922 save percentage in the series overall. It was a somewhat similar story for Ilya Bryzgalov, who struggled and was pulled from game 5, but had a strong finish to the series. His final numbers though, were not nearly as strong as Brodeur's. It does bear mentioning though that Bryz has been fantastic against the Devils this year Bryzgalov going 3-0 with 0.29 GAA, .987 save percentage and two shutouts.
Each team boasts a superstar scorer who was a major thorn in the side of the respective teams this season. Claude Giroux had 7 points (4G, 3A) in 6 games against the Devils this season, while New Jersey's Ilya Kovalchuk had 8 points (2G, 6A) in those games.
These teams played each other very evenly this season, with the Flyers holding just a slight edge in the season series with a 3-2-1 record. They've previously met 4 times in the Stanley Cup playoffs, with each team taking 2 series. That said, the Flyers have won two straight series against the Devils, including most recently in 2010.
As evenly balanced as these teams would seem to be, one area where the Flyers could have a major advantage is special teams.The Devils were an excellent penalty killing team in the regular season, but were awful in round 1 against Florida as the Panthers went 9-27, or 33%. The Flyers, meanwhile, hung 12 power play goals on the Penguins in round one.