VOORHEES, N.J. -- No team got a bigger contribution from its rookies in the 2011-12 season than the Philadelphia Flyers.
They got a League-high 64 goals from their rookies, and with as many as six first-year players expected to be in the lineup for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, their play will be pivotal for Philadelphia.
How those young players react in the crucible of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be so important because of the Penguins' advantage in experience -- 11 players expected to be in the Game 1 lineup for Pittsburgh were part of the team that won the 2009 Stanley Cup.
While many would think that playoff knowledge would give the Pens a major advantage, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said he isn't so sure.
"That's one I don't have an answer for," he said. "If you're asking me if I like our team and if I like our young players that we've had and that we've had in place all year and if they've answered the bell every time we've asked them to answer a bell, I have. I have a tremendous amount of confidence in this group. And I guess the guys, to answer your question, the guys that don't have the playoff experience, we really like them as players. They've done a terrific job all year.
"How does that compare to [the Penguins]? I'm not sure. I'm not sure if matters. We're going to go in there and we expect to play a good hockey team and we expect to win."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK