So we’ve got Penguins and Flyers. The Battle of Pennsylvania. Everyone will talk about the 2012 series and how much of a mess it was. Let’s move past that and talk about things that actually matter, like players on the roster now! (because there are only eight active players between both teams who even played in that series in 2012).
Us astute hockey fans know about Claude Giroux, we know about Jakub Voracek, we know about Sean Couturier. What we’re going to do here is get some help from some of Philadelphia’s brighter minds to give us some insight on some players we not know as much about. First up, we have Nolan Patrick, and to help us out is Steph Driver from Broad Street Hockey.
1. So...Nolan Patrick. What kind of role has he been getting with the Flyers this year?
SD: For the majority of the season, Nolan Patrick has been the second line center for the Flyers with some powerplay time on the second unit. In the beginning of the season, he spent time centering the third and fourth lines, but has solidified his role as 2C in the new year as well as having been recently promoted to the first powerplay unit.
2. Has he met expectations of the fanbase?
SD: Yes, but it was bumpy. In the first half of the season he had two goals, eight total points, and missed time with an “upper body injury” (concussion). In the second half, he’s kicked that up and had 22 points to finish the season with 30 points in 73 games. On top of that, he has proven to be a strong net front presence on the power play and is electric with his new linemate Oskar Lindblom.
3. What do you think he will need to do in order for the Flyers to succeed in this series?
SD: He needs to keep shooting and not let the pressure get to him. If he plays like he has been over the last month, he will match up well with Malkin. He’s not a Sean Couturier, but he is defensively responsible, He’s big, and he isn’t easily intimidated. I’m really looking forward to watching each top-six do battle for a series.
4. What is *your* prediction for the series?
SD: This was the matchup I didn’t want. The pessimist in me says the Flyers get swept, the realist says they win a game, the optimist says hey maybe they can take it to 7... with the Pens taking the series that way. This isn’t the year the Flyers can keep up. The Pittsburgh Hockey Club has the advantage in goal and in depth. I just hope for it to be a fun series.
It will be really interesting to see how Patrick performs in his first go-round with the beast known as the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He’s certainly got the pedigree and skill set to handle it. Much thanks to Steph for stopping by to help us out and answer some questions and give us some insight.