NHL Playoffs 2012: Philadelphia Flyers May Benefit from Teams Going the Distance
Every series in the Eastern Conference except for the Flyers/ Penguins series is preparing for a Game 7. Because all of the other Eastern Conference matchups are going the distance, the Flyers' chances of winning the Eastern Conference are increasing.
Playoff hockey is much more intense than the regular season. Teams play each other multiple times in a row and develop a natural disdain for each other.
Not only do teams not like each other, but every team is playing like there is no tomorrow.
The elevated intensity of the playoffs is more physically demanding on the players and also creates more injuries.
The three remaining Eastern Conference series are taking the full seven games to decide a winner. The longer the other teams take to advance, the more the Flyers get to rest.
Philadelphia also has several injuries that could use that extra time to heal.
James van Riemsdyk came back at the end of the first round from a broken foot. Extra time off would allow for him to fully heal. Defenseman Nicklas Grossmann has been out with an upper body injury, and he could also benefit from the extra time to rest.
Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov had some bad performances in the first round and, because of his struggles, rumors of an injury began to surface. Bryzgalov suffered a chip fracture to his foot at the end of the regular season which might still cause pain.
The biggest rumor was that Bryzgalov had a hip injury. The Flyers and Bryzgalov both denied that he had any hip injury, but it is very possible that he might have some issue. The extra time off for the Flyers will give Bryzgalov a chance to be closer to 100% for the second round.
The longer the other teams keep playing is helping the Flyers; at the same time, the longer the other teams keep playing is taking a bigger toll on them.
When teams have their backs against the wall in a Game 7, they play harder than they have all season.
The intense play drains the players physically, because they know it is a win or go home situation.
Other teams also have injuries, and players develop new injuries just like the Flyers do. The difference is that the Flyers have time off to recover from those injuries while the other teams have to keep playing.
Other teams playing more first-round games does not guarantee anything for the Flyers in the second round. It does, however, give them a better chance to be healthier and better rested than their opponents, which could make a series-changing difference.
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