Flight Plan: Atlantic Away Southeast at Home

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The Philadelphia Flyers have just one win through four games of a six game road trip. To say that the Flyers aren’t very good on the road is an understatement at this point, as they have the worst record in the NHL away from home at 2-8-0. They’ve also been away more than any team in the Eastern Conference, so there is some comfort in that at least, that they will eventually get even this schedule out with some games within the familiar confines of the Wells Fargo Center. Unfortunately for this struggling, inconsistent, and seemingly apathetic team, they still have two games this week in opponents’ buildings before returning for two games in Philadelphia. The Flyers will visit Atlantic Division rivals the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins, before quickly returning home to host the Florida Panthers and the Winnipeg Jets. You can get tickets to all of those games through tiqiq.com.

There isn’t too much to like about how the whole team is playing right now, but Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn, and Jakub Voracek each have three points in their last three games, while Wayne Simmonds has three points in his last four games. Scott Hartnell looks poised to return this week, maybe as early as Wednesday, and Andrej Meszaros has begun skating with the team, but is still likely a couple of weeks away from seeing action.

New York Islanders 02.18.2013 at 1:00 PM in New York:

This will mark the first meeting between the Islanders and the Flyers this season. Both teams have 13 points on the year, but the Islanders have played two less games. The Islanders have a good corps of young forwards, but have gotten Nearly all of their production from John Tavares who leads the team with 20 points and goals with a tied-for-NHL-best 11 twine-ticklers (nine assists), Matt Moulson who has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists), and Brad Boyes with 12 points (four goals, eight assists). They are still a dangerous team with the likes of Michael Grabner (six goals, two assists) and Frans Nielsen (one goal, eight assists). The Islanders have scored 45 goals on the season but have allowed 47. Evgeni Nabokov has gotten the majority of the starts to date with 12 and owns a 6-5-1 record, a 2.81 goals against average, and a .906 save percentage. If the Flyers come out with a will to win here, they should be able to pick up two points in the standings.

Pittsburgh Penguins 02.20.2013 at 7:30 PM in Pittsburgh:

This will be the second time these teams will square off in 2013. The Penguins are currently sitting in third in the East and second in the Atlantic, just one point out of the top spot for both the lead in the Conference and the Division. They have gone 7-3-0 in their last 10 games, and have the best goal differential in the Eastern Conference with 48 goals for and 35 goals against. It comes as no surprise that captain Sidney Crosby is leading the team in points with 21 (six goals, 15 assists), Chris Kunitz (six goals, 11 assists) and Evgeni Malkin (three goals, 14 assists) both have 17 points, while James Neal has 14 points and leads both the team and the entire NHL with 11 goals. Also worthy of note, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang leads their defense in scoring with 10 points in just 12 games (three goals, seven assists). No different than any other year, Pittsburgh is a balanced, deep team up front with a lot of high-octane weapons. The Flyers will need to shut down this team’s attack and pressure Marc-Andre Fleury, who has played very well this year (7-3-0 record, 2.26 GAA, .915 SV%), if they want to win this game.

Florida Panthers 02.21.2013 at 7:00 PM in Philadelphia:

The Flyers and Panthers have split the season series so far with a win each, and this will be the final time the two teams will play each other in this abbreviated season. The Flyers still picked up a point before losing in the shootout. The Panthers haven’t regressed so much after winning the Southeast Division last year as they have been ravaged by injuries to key players through the first quarter of the season. Only seven skaters on their roster have suited up for all 14 games. Still, they have a pretty good team who can beat you in a variety of ways if taken lightly. They are led by Tomas Fleischmann with 10 points (four goals, six assists), Calder Trophy hopeful Jonathan Huberdeau with nine points (six goals, three assists), Brian Campbell with eight points (four goals, four assists), and Tomas Kopecky (three goals, four assists) and Peter Mueller (four goals, three assists) who both have seven points. Neither of Florida’s netminders have performed particularly well, as Jose Theodore has gotten the lion’s share of the starts with 11 and has posted a 4-5-2 record to date, with a 3.41 goals against average, and a .892 save percentage. Meanwhile Scott Clemmensen has played in five games, started three, and is still searching for his first win as he has a 0-1-2 record, a 4.32 goals against average, and a .837 save percentage. This game, despite being on the back-end of a back-to-back set with Pittsburgh, should be a win for the Flyers as long as they come prepared to play.

Winnipeg Jets 02.23.2013 at 1:00 PM in Philadelphia:

The Flyers earned their only win on this road-trip against the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 3-2. Little has changed since the last time the teams met as Tobias Enstrom still leads the team with 13 points (two goals, 11 assists), Andrew Ladd has 12 points (seven goals, five assists), Blake Wheeler has 11 points (four goals, seven assists), Evander Kane has 10 points (three goals, seven assists), Bryan Little has eight points (two goals, six assists), and Dustin Byfuglien has seven points (three goals, four assists). The Flyers saw a little of both Winnipeg goaltenders in Al Montoya, who played the first two periods, and Ondrej Pavelec, who played the third and final stanza. Neither of these goalies were really standout stars, but Pavelec has started most games and has been yanked just once. Pavelec has a 3-7-1 record, a 3.15 goals against average, and a .890 save percentage. Montoya has a 2-0-0 record, a 2.74 goals against average, and a .889 save percentage. If the Flyers play their game, they should come out with a win, but if they start trying to run-and-gun with this team, they will likely miss out on two points they should easily obtain against the team tied for the worst spot in the East.