After the Flyers’ 5-0 win over the Rangers on Saturday afternoon that clinched them a spot in the playoffs, the only question left entering Saturday night was that of who they’d be facing in the first round. Thanks to losses by the two teams directly behind them in the standings — the New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets — we now know that the Flyers’ first playoff foe will be none other than the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
The end result of today’s hockey puts the Flyers in third place in the Metro, one point ahead of both Columbus (whose 4-2 loss to Nashville means they’ll face the Washington Capitals in the first round) and New Jersey (whose 5-3 loss to said Capitals means they’ll go up against whichever of Tampa or Boston wins the Atlantic Division). That means they’ll face the second-place team in the Metro, which is none other than their cross-state rivals.
The two teams, of course, most recently squared off in the playoffs six years ago, in a 4-2 Flyers series win that you surely remember fondly. That was the Flyers’ most recent playoff series win, and to advance in the playoffs they’ll have to beat those Pens again.
The Flyers, technically, were “rewarded” by facing the Pens, who had fewer points than Washington and whoever wins the Atlantic. Of course, that kind of ignores the fact that the Pens beat the Flyers all four times the two teams faced one another this year. And that they, y’know, won the Cup each of the last two seasons.
We’ll likely have a schedule tomorrow night once the regular season officially ends, and we’ll have much more thoughts and analysis on the matchup in the coming days here at BSH. Playoff hockey is back in Philadelphia, and it’s against the Flyers’ biggest rival. Let’s enjoy it.