Pittsburgh Penguins: Five Things to Watch in First-Round Matchup

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 26: Sidney Crosby
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 26: Sidney Crosby /
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  1. Goaltending

PHILADELPHIA, PA – APRIL 07: Brian Elliott
PHILADELPHIA, PA – APRIL 07: Brian Elliott /

The Flyers welcomed back starting netminder Brian Elliott last week, returning from surgery after an extended absence.  Elliott only played in two games to end the season, but pitched a shutout for the Flyers in a must-win against the Rangers. In addition to Elliott, the Flyers also have Petr Mrazek and Alex Lyon, who split time in net while Elliott was out.

"Elliott: 43 GP, 23 W, 11 L, 7 OTL, SV% .909, 2.66 GAA"

"Mrazek: 22 GP,   9 W,   7 L, 3 OTL, SV% .891, 3.22 GAA"

"Lyon: 11 GP,   4 W,   2 L, 1 OTL, SV % .905, 2.75 GAA"

In 41 playoff games, Elliott has a record of 15-22 with a 2.60 GAA and a .908 Save Percentage. The Flyers are hoping Elliott plays more like he did in 2015-2016 with the Blues than he did last year with the Flames. In four games last year with Calgary, he gave up 12 goals, with a 3.89 GAA and .880 Save Percentage.

On the flip side, the Penguins welcomed back Matt Murray last month after an extended absence due to a concussion. While Murray has been criticized for having a less than stellar season, he’s been on pace with the other goalies in the system. Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith combined for 20 wins throughout the season.

"Murray: 49 GP, 27 W, 16 L, 3 OTL, SV% .906, 2.92 GAA"

"Jarry: 26 GP, 14 W,   6 L, 2 OTL, SV% .908, 2.77 GAA"

"DeSmith: 14 GP,   6 W,   4 L, 0 OTL, SV% .921, 2.40 GAA"

In 32 playoff games, Matt Murray’s record speaks for itself. Murray has a postseason record of 22-9, with a 1.95 GAA and a .928 Save Percentage. I’d expect the Flyers to get a lot of shots on net, especially towards Murray’s glove side.

There’s a good chance that whomever wins this series will do so because of solid, but not stellar goaltending.