"There's really nothing to change. We're just going to play."
Jakub Voracek was telling me this minutes after he and the rest of the Flyers had taken their first steps off the PPG Paints Arena ice Tuesday morning. Speaking through that gritty ginger beard with a broad grin to match, he came across as anything but anxious regarding the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series that opens here in fewer than 24 hours.
Nor should he be.
Nor should any of them be. It's a pretty good team:
Their 98 points were only two fewer than the Penguins, and their top-shelf talent — Voracek, Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds, all the long-familiar faces — ranks right up there with that of most NHL rosters. Giroux, specifically, had the season of his life after endless setbacks, with 102 points. Voracek put up his standard 85 points. Couturier, a shadow no more, scored a breakout-level 31 goals. Simmonds stayed steady with 24 goals. And for their freshest dimension, the Flyers had the highest-scoring defense in the league, led by the young top pairing of Ivan Provorov, with 17 goals, and Shayne Gostisbehere, with 13.
Heck, five-on-five, the Flyers were better than the Penguins this winter by most every margin, outscoring opponents, 159-145, while the Penguins were actually outscored, 176-161.