Speak of the Devils

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:58 PM ET


 SEASON SERIES:

 The Flyers won it 3-2-1 by sweeping the last three games of the series.

 LAST PLAYOFF MEETING:

 The Devils won the 2000 Eastern Conference final series 4-3 en route to capturing their second of three Stanley Cups.

 THE SKINNY:

 A playoff meeting with the Flyers bodes well for the defending champion Devils, who have won the previous two post-season series with the Flyers before advancing to win Stanley Cups. But it's the first opening-round meeting between the rivals after squaring off in conference finals (2000 and 1995) ... The Flyers, who limped into these playoffs with just four wins in their last 10 games (4-4-2) only gained home-ice advantage for this series on the last day of the season, when they tied the Islanders 3-3 while the Devils lost 3-1 to the Bruins ... C Patrik Elias was sixth in league scoring with 81 points and posted team highs in goals (38) and plus-minus (plus-26). RW Mark Recchi led the Flyers with 75 points and also posted team highs in goals (26), assists (49) and powerplay goals (14) ... On the powerplay, the Flyers own the edge, boasting the league's second-best overall efficiency (20.7%) and third-best at home (23.1 %). The Devils are the worst at home among conference playoff teams (15.6%).

 HURTING:

 The Devils are uncertain about the status of two savvy warhorses, with former Conn Smythe winner D Scott Stevens (concussion) listed as out indefinitely and RW Grant Marshall (hand) out for at least the first round. G Corey Schwab (groin) is definitely out for the playoffs. For the Flyers, D Vladimir Malakhov (jaw) and D Dennis Seidenberg (leg) are both out indefinitely.

 POSSIBLE PLAYOFF HERO:

 Don't let the regular season fool you, especially the 10 goals of RW Jamie Langenbrunner and 17 of RW Jeff Friesen, both with the Devils. Last spring after mediocre regular schedules, Langenbrunner led all playoff performers with 11 goals, while Friesen was next with 10. And they shared the lead with four game-winners apiece to pace the Devils' run to the Stanley Cup championship.


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