Center Claude Giroux had a goal and two assists while willing the Flyers to a series-clinching 5-1 win over Pittsburgh at the electric Wells Fargo Center on Sunday.
With 14 points in the six games, Giroux was obviously the series MVP.
But who were the unsung Flyers heroes? Here, in no particular order, are a half dozen:
- Braydon Coburn. The D-man was a big reason the Flyers did a great job containing Evgeni Malkin, especially in even-strength situations. Coburn played 29:27 and had six blocked shots Sunday, and he was plus-3 and averaged about 28 minutes per game in the series.
- Max Talbot. He helped turn around Games 2 and 3 with shorthanded goals, and finished the series plus-5 with three goals and 18 hits against his former team.
- Andreas Lilja. Not many people expected Lilja to play much, let alone be an impact player. But the veteran defenseman led both teams with 19 blocked shots in the series, including six on Sunday.
- Jakub Voracek. His OT goal in Game 1 changed the series, and he quietly had seven points (two goals, five assists) in the six games.
- Sean Couturier. Couturier, 19, got under Malkin's skin with his defense and was plus-3 with three goals. Malkin, the likely MVP of the regular season, was minus-1 and also had three goals.
- Brayden Schenn. The 20-year-old rookie was second on the team with 19 hits – six behind Scott Hartnell _ and he contributed six points.
The waiting game. The Flyers won't know who they will play in Round 2 until the other Eastern Conference quarterfinals are over and the teams are reseeded. Their worst matchup would be the Rangers, while the best would be Florida.
"We just beat one of the best teams in the league, so it doesn't matter who we play next," center Danny Briere said after the Flyers eliminated the Penguins. "….It's always the way we've approached it. When you win your first round, usually you're on a roll, so no matter who we play, it's going to be a tough battle."
The Flyers probably won't start until Friday or Saturday, and the delay should help several injured players heal. The Flyers are hopeful defenseman Nick Grossmann can play in the next round.
Classless. Maybe it was because he was talking after a season-ending loss to a bitter rival and didn't have time to compose his thoughts.
Whatever the reason, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma, a stand-up guy, showed little class when he started his post-game news conference this way: "I want to congratulate the Flyers organization on the series win, but I really can't wish them good luck, though."