Flight Plan: On the Road Again

Image courtesy of NJ.com

After a four game home stand which saw them earn seven of a possible eight points, the Philadelphia Flyers start a five game road trip Monday night. This week, the Flyers’ schedule has them doubled up on back-to-backs as they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Winnipeg Jets, the New Jersey Devils, and the Montreal Canadiens. As of right now, Philadelphia is sitting in 10th place, and is looking up at every single one of their opponents in the standings over the seven-day stretch. If they want to put themselves back into contention, they’ll need to build on their strong showing at home with some wins away from the Wells Fargo Center. You can get tickets to all Flyers games here: http://www.tiqiq.com/nhl/philadelphia-flyers-tickets/?publisherid=1260333.

Matt Read leads the team in scoring with nine points (five goals, four assists) while Brayden Schenn (two goals, six assists)  and Jakub Voracek (three goals, five assists) are both tied for second with eight points apiece. To say Claude Giroux has been a disappointment thus far is a massive understatement as he has just seven points in 12 games. Wayne Simmonds returned to action Saturday afternoon and registered two shots in 15:14 of ice time in a win over the Carolina Hurricanes after missing three games with a head injury. Danny Briere scored the game winner against Carolina. Andrej Meszaros (shoulder) and Scott Hartnell (foot) remain out of the lineup.

Toronto Maple Leafs on 02.11.2013 at 7:00 PM in Toronto:

The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently in second place in the Northeast Division and fifth place in the Eastern Conference. They’ve won three games in a row, their most recent victory coming by way of a 6-0 blowout of Montreal, but they’ve scored just three more goals than they’ve allowed this year at 34 and 31 respectively. Leading the Leafs with 10 points (two goals, eight assists) is Phil Kessel, who has played the role of provider more than scorer thus far, but has netted both of his goals and six points in his last three games. Not far behind is none other than former-Flyer James van Riemsdyk (seven goals, two assists) and Nazem Kadri (three goals, six assists) with nine points each. Toronto has balance through their first two lines as Matt Frattin (six goals, two assists) and Tyler Bozak (four goals, four assists) both have eight points, and Nikolai Kulemin has seven (one goal, six assists). The Flyers, if they are able to stifle the Leafs’ scoring attack in five-on-five play, should come out with a victory as Toronto has scored just nine of their 34 goals, and operating at a 15.0% clip on the man-advantage.

Winnipeg Jets on 02.12.2013 at 8:00 PM in Winnipeg:

The Winnipeg Jets and Flyers both have 11 points, but Winnipeg is currently ranked at ninth in the East due to the fact that they’ve played one less game so far. Winnipeg has given up 37 goals on the year while they’ve scored just 30, which is no surprise since last season they allowed 242 goals and scored just 221. The Jets are, once again, led in scoring by a defenseman as Tobias Enstrom has 13 points (two goals, 11 assists). Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler both have nine points (four goals, five assists each). Evander Kane has eight points (three goals, five assists) and both big Dustin Byfuglien (three goals, four assists) and Bryan Little (two goals, five assists) have seven points. This game is simple: if the Flyers play their game and don’t get into a run-and-gun high-scoring affair, they should win in Winnipeg.

New Jersey Devils on 02.15.2013 at 7:00 PM in Newark:

The New Jersey Devils are atop the Eastern Conference standings with a 7-1-3 record and have won four straight. They won the first meeting of the season between the two teams by a score of 3-0. Surprisingly enough, tied for the Devils’ lead in scoring are David Clarkson (seven goals, six assists) and Patrik Elias (three goals, 10 assists) with 13 points. Ilya Kovalchuk has nine points (three goals, six assists), while Andy Greene has eight (two goals, six assists). Although Adam Henrique has only five points (four goals, one assist), he’s also played just six games thus far and has a point in every single one of his last four contests. The Flyers have had a real tough time with the Devils’ forecheck dating all the way back to last year’s Eastern Conference Semi-Final playoff round. If Philadelphia can do the little things right against this team, they can walk away with a point or maybe even two.

Montreal Canadiens on 02.16.2013 at 7:00 PM in Montreal:

The Montreal Canadiens have just two more points than the Flyers, but have played one less game. They have lost three straight, but one of those losses came by way of the shootout against the Buffalo Sabres. The Canadiens have two defensemen in their top three in scoring as Andrei Markov is atop their leaderboard with 10 points (four goals, six assists) and Raphael Diaz has nine points, all assists. Tomas Plekanec also has 10 points (six goals, four assists). Midseason-2011-2012-acquisition Rene Borque (three goals, four assists) and the highly-skilled-third-overall-American-born-rookie Alex Galchenyuk (one goal, six assists) both have seven points. P.K. Subban, who has played in just five games due to a contract dispute at the start of the season, has four points (two goals, two assists) already. Carey Price is right about at his normal pace thus far, going 6-3-0 in nine starts, with a 2.21 goals against average, and a .919 save percentage. The Flyers have done well against the Canadiens in recent years, but coming off their second back-to-back in six days will make it a little tougher. If the Flyers can keep their energy level high through three periods, they’ll likely take two points away from the Bell Centre.