If you read the comments on philly.com and Broad Street Hockey, you'll see that nearly all Flyer fans are predicting a win in this series. Not just a win, but I saw multiple mentions of sweep or "Flyers in 5" as the most common predictions. And living in the melting pot of Flyer - Devil territory, I can tell you the reports from the ground are similar. While this overconfidence may be common for opposing teams heading into any matchup, there is virtually none of that confidence with Devils' fans.
But why? Because of a series two years ago? Because of the way the Flyers manhandled the Pens?
I guess it is perfectly understandable, as the Flyers rolled through the Penguins who many predicted as the East's representative in the Stanley Cup Finals while the Devils struggled with the weaker Florida Panthers who just got the 3rd seed by winning an easy division.
But to put a spin on an old political saying from the Raging Cajun: It's the match-ups stupid!
The Flyers dominated the Penguins during the regular season and why pundits picked the Penguins over the Flyers was suspicious to me; most Flyer fans I knew weren't scared of the Penguins at all. The Devils drew a weaker Panthers team (true) but it was a Panthers' team that matched their style of play quite well during the regular season.
So now that both teams have played a playoff round, here's what we know: the Devils didn't do well against Ilya Bryzgalov, but the Penguins made him look like Swiss cheese. There's no way the Devils can score 26 goals in this series. But they're also not going to give up 30 either. The Penguins play a much different style than the Devils.
So it's the Flyers, not the Devils who will have to adapt. The Devils defense does not allow as many shots as the Penguins' D did. True, the Devils will have to adapt to the Flyers' physical play, but should we be that scared? And yes, the Flyers' Power Play was awesome vs. the Penguins, but the Devils already played a team with a killer power play. So nothing new there. And if Flyer fans concede that the Devils can bore them to death, who is to think the Flyers can adapt and play a totally different style of hockey vs. the Devils and succeed? Especially since the Devils did better in the season series vs. the Flyers than the Penguins did?
So should the Flyer fans be confident? Sure. Should we? Absolutely! It's like the Flyers just finished fighting Soda Popinski and now have to battle with Mr. Sandman. I don't know about you, but once you figured out Popinski's style, you never lost to him. Mr. Sandman took much longer.
From what I'm seeing this will be a 6 or 7 game series, not something short. The Flyers are going to have to play completely different in this series and that's not something done overnight. And of course, the Devils are now playing with house money, just being happy with advancing to Round 2. . . or are they?