With Philadelphia’s victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning, they are confirmed to be the Montreal Canadiens’ first-round playoff opponent; here’s how the teams stack up.
Saturday night’s 4-1 victory over the Lightning ensured the Flyers the desired matchup against the lowest seed team in the Eastern Conference playoffs: the Montreal Canadiens. Fresh off of defeating Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania rivals, the Canadiens and their fanbase had to wait a day to find out who exactly they would go on to face, and now, it has been confirmed; a rematch from the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals will occur.
While Philadelphia may not seem like a particularly formidable foe when looking at the 2019-20 NHL standings, considering the Habs just beat a Penguins team that racked up just three less regular-season points, they most definitely are. Leading up to the abrupt stop in play, back in March, Philadelphia was the only team in the league to have won more than 8 of its last ten games, with 9.
When digging a little bit deeper, isolating Philadelphia’s results between November 25 (their 24th game of the season) and the regular season’s end, shows that they went 30-14-2, racking up 62 points in 46 games. When adjusted to an 82 game season, this would put them on pace for 110 points, so this is a very good team.
And while any possible momentum disappeared with the four-month pause in play, the Flyers have thus far shown that they remain a force to be reckoned with, winning all three of their round-robin games as well as their exhibition game. That 3-2 exhibition win came against a certain Pittsburgh team, while their more meaningful wins consisted of 4-1 victories against Boston and, most recently, Tampa Bay as well as a 3-1 win against the Washington Capitals.
It should go without saying that the Montreal Canadiens are yet again the clear underdogs of this upcoming playoff series, and it can be assumed that the Habs’ players and staff are more than happy to be in that position yet again.
The season series between the two teams was won 2-1 by the Flyers, and it should be noted that both of their victories came in overtime, while Montreal’s victory, which came in mid-January, was more decisive at 4-1.