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NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, Round One Series Predictions: Flyers Vs. Sabres

Going back to (or not really straying from) goaltending, that’ll be a story in this series. Philadelphia’s using rookie netminder Sergei Bobrovsky as their starter and veteran Brian Boucher as the backup. Neither of these two goaltenders have the star power of another Team USA vet, Buffalo netminder Ryan Miller. Somehow, though, they’ve managed to hold the Flyers firmly atop the Atlantic Division. However, that hold began to crumble at the end of the season.

The Sabres were out Miller for the last five games of the season, and managed to cope just fine. There’s no shortage of firepower on the Sabres. There Thomas Vanek, as always, leading the way. Recent acquisition Brad Boyes has been very strong since the trade with St. Louis that sent him to Buffalo. Of course, there’s also Jason Pominville, Drew Stafford, Tyler Ennis, and Nathan Gerbe (word of wise to Carcillo – don’t pat him on the head again).

Philly makes up for non-name brand goaltending with a solid defense that will, unfortunately, not include Chris Pronger tonight. Of course, a look at their stats sheet will also tell a story of a franchise who can score often and from anywhere.

Philly has the drive to show fans that last season wasn’t a fluke. They’re going to fight until they make it back into the finals. Buffalo better watch out.

My Prediction (which will probably be wrong): Philly in six.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.