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Breakdown: Flyers vs. Devils


5-on-5
The Devils are the top defensive team in the NHL and the Flyers are second in the east, but it will be very difficult for New Jersey to match Philly's depth down the middle with Michael Handzus, Keith Primeau, Jeremy Roenick and Alexei Zhamnov.



Philadelphia power play vs. New Jersey penalty kill
Although the Devils had the No. 5 penalty killing unit in the league during the regular season, the Flyers had the No. 2 power play and New Jersey is also playing without top defenseman Scott Stevens. Philadelphia is now fully healthy and can put two units on the ice without a noticeable dropoff.


New Jersey power play vs. Philadelphia penalty kill
The Devils' power play is much better than it was last season, and with Scott Niedermayer and Bryan Rafalski both healthy they are solid at the points. The Philly penalty kill raked only 10th in the east, so New Jersey has the edge.


Goaltending
No matter who New Jersey faces in the playoffs Martin Brodeur gives them the advantage in terms of goaltending.


Coaching
The resumes of New Jersey's Pat Burns and Philadelphia's Ken Hitchcock are nearly carbon copies. Each is a defense-first taskmaster and each has one Stanley Cup to his credit. It looks pretty even, but Burns has a tougher job because he has fewer horses to ride.


Intangibles
The Devils are the defending Stanley Cup champs, but the Flyers had success against them this season. Hitchcock and Burns are both matchup coach, but Philly has home-ice advantage and gets the edge based on that.


Prediction
Philadelphia in seven.