* Goaltending is the least of the Flyers problems, vis-a-vis, the Rangers. No matter how you shake it, the Blueshirts are better at every segment; defense, offense; special teams, coach.

* Now Philly has reverted to the Broad Street Bully image. Cheap shots galore were brushed off by the Rangers like mosquitoes at a picnic.

* The Alex Steen trade from Toronto to St. Louis ranks among the all-time dumb Toronto deals.

* I’m told that George McPhee will be sought by either Vancouver and/or Calgary if Ted Leonsis decides to drop his g.m. in D.C.

* Ken Hitchcock’s turnabout of his slumping Blues merely proves what we already know; that the playoffs are an entirely new season.

* Anyone who says that Ben Bishop’s appearance will make the Lightning a winner is 100 per cent right. Question surrounds BB’s ability to return in mint condition.

* If I’ve learned anything after watching a half-century of playoffs it is that results of the first game have less impact on the remainder of the playoffs than people realize. Except in the case of Rangers over Philly.

* Mark Streit as well as Andrew MacDonald are meaningful assets to the Flyers.

* Trouble is their accent on offense. Defensively each is suspect to the point of difference-making.

* When you talk about whether the Canucks will retain their coach you have to ask yourself, can Vancouver afford to drop John Tortorella who still has four years left on his contract?

* It’s true that goaltenders do win playoff series. And Ryan Miller is the reason why the Blackhawks should start worrying about a first-round ouster, if they haven’t already.

* Just in case anyone is interested in stats nonsense, the so-called Hockey News “insiders,” Kevin Weekes and Jeff O’Neill, have the odds against Dallas winning the Cup at 75-1.

* If I’m Lindy Ruff, I’d post that on the bulletin board, presto, pronto.