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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


The Pittsburgh Penguins finished ahead of the Flyers in the standings. But the Flyers won the season series. The Penguins have the better players at the top of their roster. The Flyers are deeper. The Penguins will have the home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but the Flyers play well on the road.
Which way to go, then, in the best-of-seven?
Go with the singular driving instinct that made the Flyers what they were this season. Go with the idea that everyone --- the press, the fans, Ed Snider, Paul Holmgren --- was right when they decided that the one thing separating the Flyers from fulfillment was a distinct No. 1 goaltender.
Was everyone right? Was the press right to yell that it was time for Peter Laviolette to commit to one, just one, goaltender? Was Holmgren right to bring Ilya Bryzgalov to Philadelphia? Was Snider right to OK $51 million in financing?
Check it out: The NHL is about to find out.
Bryzgalov was the Player of the Month in March, but has had a slightly injured foot. He'll start Wednesday in Pittsburgh and, presumably, for as long as the Flyers hang around the playoffs.
If he is leaky, creaky and altogether like too many other Flyers goalies since 1987, then the Penguins will win. If he is spectacular, stumping the Pens three, four, five times a period, then the Flyers are off to Round 2.
The pick: I'll go with the instinct. I'll go with the press. I'll go with Snider and Holmgren. I'll go with Bryzgalov until there is no reason not to.
Flyers in six.


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