Philadelphia Flyers (3-9-0) @ New Jersey Devils (3-5-4), 7:00pm, TCN-PH, MSG PLUS 2
Philadelphia Flyers: 3-9-0
vs. Eastern Conference: 3-6-0
vs. Metropolitan Division: 2-3-0
New Jersey Devils: 3-5-4
vs. Eastern Conference: 3-3-1
vs. Metropolitan Division: 1-2-1
Less than 24 hours after an embarrassing showing at the Wells Fargo Center Friday night, the Philadelphia Flyers (3-9-0) head up Interstate 95 to face a well-rested New Jersey Devils team (3-5-4) in Newark, NJ. This is the first of four meetings between the two teams; the Devils come to the Wells Fargo Center for a rematch this coming Thursday (November 7).
I don’t really know where to begin with regards to last night’s game between the Flyers and Capitals. There aren’t many positives to take away from Philadelphia’s standpoint; it was a game where, quite frankly, they were outplayed in every aspect. Despite allowing only four shots to Washington in the first period, Philadelphia was hapless to defend against the barrage Washington sent their way in the second; the Capitals ended up scoring 6 of their 7 goals in the middle twenty minutes. Steve Mason had little chance on the second, third and fourth goals, and he was eventually pulled for Ray Emery (albeit coming back after Emery’s fiasco).
With regards to the line brawl that was sparked by the bruised egos of a poorly playing team: all I’m going to say is it was reckless, embarrassing. A temper tantrum isn’t going to magically fix the train wreck that is the beginning of this season. Steve Downie and Vincent Lecavalier are out of the lineup because of injuries suffered during the brawl. That’s two forwards from the team’s top line. Inexcusable. If the team wishes to turn things around, they need to start commanding respect from their play.
Last year, the Devils won 4 out of the 5 meetings between these Metropolitation division rivals. Look for Mason to be the starting goaltender for tonight, despite starting on the first night of a back-to-back (as he was eventually replaced by Emery in the second period). This is the Devils’ second game in a row at home, and the team hasn’t played since Tuesday – a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
1) REGROUP: It doesn’t get any easier tonight, as the Flyers must face a well-rested Devils team on the second night of a back-to-back. The Devils are coming off a 2-1 win and a solid performance by Martin Brodeur on Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s crucial that the Flyers quickly move on from the disaster that occurred last night and work on clearing their heads, as the Devils have had all week to prepare for this divisional matchup. The team desperately needs to develop some sense of resiliency. After the first period Friday night, the Flyers simply caved and let Washington do whatever they pleased on the ice. If – and a very big if – the Flyers want to dig themselves out of this hole, they need to focus on climbing out one game at a time.
2) BRODEUR: The Flyers (for once) have the advantage in goaltending tonight, as they get to face the 41-year-old Martin Brodeur instead of Cory Schneider. Brodeur’s .879 save percentage is much, much lower than his career average of .913. He’s been a shell of his former self. Because of what happened last night, I shudder to think what may transpire should the Flyers give up the first goal tonight. Brodeur in net gives the Flyers a fighting chance from the get-go.
3) INJURIES: As if the line brawl wasn’t embarrassing enough, both Vincent Lecavalier and Steve Downie suffered injuries which, in all likelihood, will keep them out for extended periods of time. As of 3:00 PM, Downie was still at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania suffering from a concussion. Per the Flyers’ release, he most likely won’t be released until tomorrow. Vincent Lecavalier was upgraded to day-to-day with facial lacerations. The injuries force Jay Rosehill and Tye McGinn back into the lineup, and along with that comes the necessary line-juggling to fit them in.
4) GIROUX AND HARTNELL: If I had told you before the season that both Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell would not combine for a single goal in the month of October, would you have believed me? The two top-line forwards have been unable to convert on any of their 43 combined shots thus far; that’s obviously unsustainable, but at what point do things turn around? The Flyers need scoring, badly, and the longer this drought continues, the more it seems to effect them. The top line needs to be scoring for this team to be successful.
PROJECTED LINEUPS *UPDATED AT 5:00 PM EST*:
New Jersey Devils:
Patrik Elias (26) : Andrei Loktionov (21) : Jaromir Jagr (68)
Dainius Zubrus (8) : Jacob Josefson (16) : Damien Brunner (12)
Rostislav Olesz (25) : Adam Henrique (14) : Michael Ryder (17)
Ryan Carter (20) : Stephen Gionta (11) : Steve Bernier (18)
Andy Greene (6) : Mark Fayne (7)
Anton Volchenkov (28) : Marek Zidlicky (2)
Eric Gelinas (22) : Adam Larsson (5)
Martin Brodeur (30)
Backup: Cory Schneider (35)
Scott Hartnell (19) : Claude Giroux (28) : Jakub Voracek (93)
Tye McGinn (15) : Brayden Schenn (10) : Wayne Simmonds (17)
Michael Raffl (12) : Sean Couturier (14) : Matt Read (24)
Jay Rosehill (37) : Adam Hall (18) : Zac Rinaldo (36)
Nicklas Grossmann (8) : Braydon Coburn (5)
Kimmo Timonen (44) : Andrej Meszaros (41)
Mark Streit (32) : Hal Gill (75)
Steve Mason (35)
Backup: Ray Emery (29)