Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek celebrate a goal against Pittsburgh in Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals -- the second-to-last playoff series for the Orange and Black. (Photo Courtesy of Philly.com)
The Flyers on Tuesday clinched a Stanley Cup Playoff berth for the first time since 2012 with a 5-2 win over Florida. The Stanley Cup Playoffs always produce interesting storylines to watch out for, and that won't be any different for the Orange and Black. This week's Flyers Five takes a look at playoff storylines to keep an eye on for the Orange and Black.
5. What Flyers team will show up: The Flyers have demonstrated abilities to play a full, up-tempo game (and may even sneak up on a team in the third period) as well as play flat and almost apathetic. They've proven they can go the distance against upper-echelon clubs like Chicago, St. Louis and Pittsburgh in recent games, but also endured a lengthy 164:61 goalless drought. Will the Flyers show up to pursue the Cup, or be forced to show up to an earlier date at the golf course?
4. Mentorship roles: Three current Flyers have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup -- Vincent Lecavalier, Hal Gill and Ray Emery. Gill was just lauded for his perseverance and mentorship of younger players by being named the Flyers' nominee for the Bill Masterson Trophy, while Emery has valuable insight from last year's Cup run as a member of the Blackhawks. While Lecavalier's glory came a decade ago, all three players have insight that becomes even more valuable for a lengthy playoff run.
3. Claude Giroux: Chances are you remember exactly where you were during Claude Giroux's tone-setting "Let's f---ing go!" shift against Pittsburgh in Game 6 of the 2012 quarterfinal. The captain has demonstrated time-and-time-again this season a willingness to step up and lead the way, and the playoffs are when that willingness becomes mandatory.
2. Steve Mason: Steve Mason's career renaissance has been a joy for Flyers fans to watch all season. Multiple all-world performances throughout the season have led to him becoming one of the team's most valuable players. His biggest black mark going into the playoffs is a lack of experience -- in four games (all in one 2009 series), he has no wins, a 4.27 GAA and an .878 SP. The sample size is microscopic, but in a season that relies heavily on solid goaltending, that lack of experience could ultimately come back to haunt Mason. On the converse though, he could be saving his best hockey for when it counts most.
1. Craig Berube's role: Giroux, Braydon Coburn, Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell are all easy names to think of when reflecting on playoff runs of previous years. But one easy oversight is Craig Berube. Since 2009, 'Chief' has been behind the bench as an assistant for all 51 Flyers playoff games. He's also coached two rounds at the helm of the American League's Phantoms. He's seen the highest and lowest times during the postseason, and his first playoff games at the NHL head coaching level have the chance for even more high times.