Weve already witnessed it during the Flyers run to the 2010 Cup Final. And weve seen what occurs with a shorter stay last season.
What will present itself this time?
There's something about starting and finishing, Laviolette said. If you're able to go the whole way and the whole distance, there's something about that ride and that journey.
You can't get it anywhere else except the Stanley Cup playoffs. We're at the beginning stages here.
Sad part is, both the Flyers and Penguins are worthy of playing in the Eastern Conference finals. Only one will get a chance.
There are so many variables in this series to consider.
How will Ilya Bryzgalov, still limping badly with a chip fracture in his right foot, respond to playing every game in goal against Pittsburgh, especially at Consol Energy Center, wheres he never played in a Flyer uniform?
Will the Flyers road warrior dominance carry over into the postseason?
Weve got the road advantage, Scott Hartnell quipped.
Assuming two minus two equals zero, then it comes down to secondary scoring. Will the Flyers have enough in that department from Danny Briere and others to offset players like Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis?
Most of all, will the Flyers come to play from the drop of the puck or will their season-long penchant for playing from behind continue?
The Flyers have allowed the opposition to score within the first 10 minutes of play 51 times. Poor starts could become quick finishes if the Flyers dont come ready to play.
That's been the story this year ... trailing after one and being able to come back and win it, Giroux said.
You gotta make sure you get the lead as quick as possible because they can shut down a game. They're pretty good defensively, also. We gotta make sure when the puck drops we drop our coffee and we're ready to go.
Jaromir Jagr theorized that the reason the Flyers start slow is because they know they can overcome any deficit. They can score four, five, six goals or more. And they proved that continually.
Alas, when the Stanley Cup playoffs begin, defense and goaltending reign. Checking and passive interference increase. Goals dip to one or two a game.
You dont find those epic comebacks, Hartnell said.
And with Bryz and Marc-Andre Fleury in net, the games figure to be low-scoring.
You've got a couple of the best goalies in the league on both squads, Hartnell said. Both defenses are playing really well. But if you look on my side, there's a lot of guys that can score.
It's going to be a battle. It's going to be a chess match. It's going to be hard. It's going to be intense. I'm sure there will be a lot of blood, a lot of goals and hopefully the Flyers are on the winning side of it.
Unlike the past two springs, the Flyers enter this years playoffs as a hot team down the stretch, going 13-5-2 from March through the end of the regular season.
Their overall team game was sound, even during defeat.
Its how you go into the playoffs and how your team plays in the playoffs, Kimmo Timonen said. Its bigger than home ice. Who you play or whether you lose six times in a row to a team, it doesnt matter in the playoffs.
Playoffs are a new season, new atmosphere, different games. To me, the biggest thing is going into the playoffs playing well, and your team game has to be in order.
I have been on both sides of the coin," Timonen continued. "Going into the playoffs not playing well and going in playing well. You cant turn around that quick. Our team game has been pretty good.
Truth is, the Flyers' "team game" was shoddy in 2010, yet they turned it around midway into the second round against Boston and went onto the Cup Final against Chicago.
Pittsburghs team game has been pretty impressive, as well. They had the NHLs best record over the final 40 games of the season: 30-8-2 (.775).
They're pretty good all-around and so are we, Giroux said. We have good defenses and good goaltending and some players that can score some goals.
It's pretty much the same story on the other side. At the end of the day, it's going to be who wants it more.
The Flyers had a magnificent season from their rookies. Eleven rookies (one, Kevin Marshall, was traded) combined for 64 goals, 65 assists and 129 points most of any team in the league.
At least six rookies are expected to play in this series (see story). The Penguins are not expected to dress any rookies. Keep in mind, Pittsburgh has 11 players remaining from its 2009 Stanley Cup roster.
Youth knows no fear, as the Flyers would tell you. Laviolette had to rely on so many rookies this season out of necessity. Some because of injury. Some as part of the rebuilding process from last summer.
How these rookies handle playoff pressure is pivotal. Tensions, emotions, playing conditions, situations are greatly elevated this time of year.
I have absolutely no doubt that they're going to play a good hockey game for us, Laviolette said. They've done it all year in every situation.
They've prepared for this, and let's be honest, we wouldn't be in the situation that we're in if it weren't for those guys and the way they've contributed through the course of the year.
I think there's a lot of confidence, not just from me, but from their teammates and our organization. I'm sure they're excited to get in their first playoff game and get going.
In the end, it will still come down to goaltending.
Not since the Hextall Era could you say with some measure of confidence that the Flyers were going into the playoffs with proven, sound goaltending that could win a Cup.
Bryzgalov has to outplay Fleury if the Flyers are to win the series. If Bryz duplicates his 13-game heroics of March -- 1.44 goals against, .947 save percentage -- the Flyers will advance.
Fleury's a good goalie, Giroux said. We'll be honest here. And Bryz is playing very good for us lately. We know he's going to be giving us a chance to win every game.
We gotta make sure we help him. When Bryz plays well, he gives us confidence to go on the offense and to score some goals.
It all begins Wednesday evening in the 'Burgh.
It's Game 1 and we're looking forward to getting going, Laviolette said. It just brings a different level of excitement when the puck drops for the playoffs.