The first playoff series of the Alain Vigneault era begins Wednesday when the Flyers take on the Montreal Canadiens in Toronto.
Game 2 is Friday at 3 p.m.
The Flyers went 3-0-0 in the round-robin to grab the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed. A bigger surprise was Montreal, the 12th-seed, rolling over Pittsburgh in four games to advance out of the qualifying round into what will now be a more traditional playoff format.
The first two rounds of the Eastern Conference are in Toronto. After that, everything moves to Edmonton where the West is bubbled in.
The Flyers were 2-1 against Montreal, needing overtime for their two victories. The Canadiens may be limited offensively, but goaltender Carey Price is among the best in the business. He was the difference in the upset win against the Penguins.
Vigneault has won a playoff series in each of his first three coaching stops, including 2013-14 when he took the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals. He acknowledges freely that a championship is the one thing that’s missing from his resume’. Vigneault is 10th all-time in regular-season wins (689) and 14th in postseason victories (71). Only Pat Quinn, a former Flyers’ coach, has more playoff wins (94) without the big trophy to show for it.
While a title might be ambitious for a Flyers team that hasn’t won so much as a playoff series in eight years, they were the hottest team going into the pandemic and arguably the hottest over the first week.
The Flyers entered the resumption of play at 12-1 to win the Stanley Cup. As of Sunday evening, PointsBet had them at 7-1, just a shade below Tampa Bay, Colorado, and Vegas.
Vs. Montreal Canadiens. All games in Toronto
Game 1: Wednesday, Aug. 12, 8 p.m.
Game 2: Friday, Aug. 14, 3 p.m.
Game 3: Sunday, Aug. 16, 8 p.m.
Game 4: Tuesday, Aug. 18, 3 p.m.
*Game 5: Wednesday, Aug. 19, TBD
*Game 6: Friday, Aug. 21, TBD