It's time for a special prediction-themed End to End from NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Boruk, Tom Dougherty and Jordan Hall before the Flyers' season opener Thursday night against the Golden Knights.


Flyers prediction/outlook
If you believe in trends, then the Flyers' recent history would suggest that they'll fall short of reaching the postseason in 2018-19. Going back to 2012, they've reached the playoffs in even-numbered years and have come up short in the odd-numbered ones.

This is the season the Flyers break that cycle. Last year, I almost nailed it correctly forecasting their 42 wins to go with 96 points. They finished with 98 and a postseason berth in Game 82.

After vigorously shaking my "lucky" 8-ball, I see a record of 44-25-13 for 101 points and a second-place Metropolitan Division finish with the Flyers facing the Blue Jackets in the first round. Sergei Bobrovsky will steal a Game 7 at the Wells Fargo Center, and somewhere in the building, Carter Hart will be watching.

Stanley Cup Final prediction
Connor McDavid will win the Art Ross Trophy for a third straight year, John Tavares will secure the Hart Trophy as league MVP and the Maple Leafs will win their first Stanley Cup championship since 1967 by knocking off the Jets in six games in the first all-Canadian Final in 30 years. 

That'll make up for last season's dreadful prediction of the Oilers beating the Lightning.


Flyers prediction/outlook
I have a feeling about the Flyers this season. Really like their forward group and expect the defensive unit to come together. I have high expectations for Ivan Provorov in his third season. Shayne Gostisbehere looked like a totally different player this September.


Just how far can they go is the question. They've made the playoffs in two of Dave Hakstol's first three seasons and those were teams that shouldn't have sniffed the postseason. This year's team should.

I'm not sure what their record will look like and how many points they'll have — let's say 47-26-9 for 103 points. But I see them finishing second in the Metropolitan Division behind the Capitals.

The goaltending, of course, is a question. Brian Elliott is serviceable but health is a concern. If they can get steady goaltending, then I think this team will safely make the playoffs and win one round, at least.

Part of me wants to be bold and say this team has a long run in it. I think the Flyers can if all the cards fall in their favor. Winning a round should be the expectation and anything less would be a disappointment.

Stanley Cup Final prediction
This feels a lot like Toronto's year, but it's the Maple Leafs. I'm sure something will go wrong. The Sharks feel like a safe pick, but ditto.

I really like the Jets. I think last year's run was a great experience for a fairly young club and I see them piggybacking off it this year. Losing Paul Stastny hurts but there's a lot to like about Winnipeg.

Let's go with a Winnipeg-Tampa Bay Stanley Cup Final. I'm rolling with the Jets.


Flyers prediction/outlook
There's a lot to like about the Flyers' 2018-19 makeup.

There are also reasons to be concerned.

With the addition of James van Riemsdyk, the Flyers will roll out three intriguing lines. Realistically, they'll have a player with 30-goal pedigree or potential on each of those units.

Not bad.

But Elliott is 33 years old, coming off core muscle surgery last season and has played more than 50 games in a regular season just once, back in 2009-10.

After him, it's uncertainty. And in front of him, it's a defense nobody is sure about outside of the Gostisbehere-Provorov duo.

I like where the Flyers are headed, though, and they must continue to trust their youth. Let's go with 45-25-12 for 102 points and snapping their playoff series drought at six seasons before losing in the second round.

Stanley Cup Final prediction
Sorry, Flyers fans, but the Penguins are still legit and somehow not drawing as much attention.

Championship teams fuel on motivation and Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and company will have plenty of it, while Matt Murray is in for a rebound year.

They'll meet a loaded Sharks team in the Stanley Cup Final and prevail over seven games.

More on the Flyers