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Stanley Cup Playoffs Flyers vs. Penguins: There will be blood

Flyers, Penguins bring a raging hatred of each other into first-round series.

Boos rained down from a sold-out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center. Max Talbot, then a Penguin, put his right index finger to his lips on his way to the penalty box as if to quiet the Flyers fans that seconds before were cheering the beating that Dan Carcillo had just served up.

In Pittsburgh, it's known as "The Shhhhh." The Flyers were up 3-0 in Game 6 and down 3-2 in the quarterfinals to Pittsburgh. At 4:21 of the second period, Talbot single-handedly turned the series around. The very next shift, the Penguins started a brigade of five unanswered goals -- one on an empty net -- and ended the Flyers' season.

"We came back," Talbot recalled. "We were lucky enough to come back. We scored big goals and we won the series. It became a special moment. It's gonna stick with me and it's great because we were able to win the Cup after this."

That signature gesture is just one of the reasons the Flyers-Penguins rivalry has been so heated recently. The Penguins have taken the last two of the five playoff series these teams have played, and the Flyers want revenge.

"You always hate teams that are good, that play you tough and play you hard," Scott Hartnell said. "I wouldn't say I hate them. Hate's a strong word. Definitely there's guys in there that play hard and finish every check. Those guys are hard to play against. I don't like them."

It's a quick turnaround, though. Flyers fans have already embraced Talbot, who went on to score the only two Penguins goals in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on the road against heavily-favored Detroit in 2009.

Maybe he's got more playoff magic that can quiet the Penguins.

Come cheer on Orange and Black




The "Fight for the Cup" Caravan and Pep Rally will begin today at 11 a.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.

The parade will head north on Broad Street, wrap around City Hall and conclude with a pep rally at the Comcast Center from noon-1 p.m. Free gear will be available.

Flyers fans are also being encouraged to watch Game 1 at XFINITY Live! There will be live music, drink and food specials starting at 4 p.m.

Tale of the tape




Goaltending

The scoop - Ilya Bryzgalov had a phenomenal March and no goaltender in the NHL has been better, but Marc Andre-Fleury has a Cup ring and Bryz hasn’t done well in the playoffs either of the last two seasons.

Advantage - Penguins

Offense

The scoop - Pens have five players with at least 25 goals this season. The Flyers once led the league in scoring, but finished behind both Boston and Pittsburgh. If Danny Briere comes back healthy, maybe this flip-flops.

Advantage - Penguins

Defense

The scoop - Although Kris Letang may be the best
blue-liner on either team, the Flyers have more depth. If Nicklas
Grossman can return and block shots, the difference between the two back
lines should be clear.

Advantage - Flyers

Coaching

The scoop - Master of the timeout Peter Laviolette has gotten the momentum to swing in his favor more than a few times after a poor start. He has also developed a shut-down line to drive Evgeni Malkin mad.

Advantage - Flyers

 
 
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