Archive for Game Preview

Flyers Face Big Test in Rinne Tonight

Posted in Flyer Thoughts, Game Previews with tags , , , on February 3, 2011 by Josh Getzoff

PREDATORS RINNE, ONE OF THE BEST GOALIES IN THE NHL, WILL TEST FLYERS’ OFFENSE

Getting more traffic in front will be the Flyers’ goal against Nashville, an offense-challenged team that features Rinne, all-star defenseman Shea Weber, owner of a 100-plus m.p.h. slap shot, and defenseman Ryan Suter.

Rinne, a Finland native who has a 17-13-4 record, has allowed two goals or fewer in 11 of his last 13 games.

The Predators will face a Flyers power play that went 0 for 4 on Tuesday and has scored in just four of their last 14 games.

Nashville (27-17-7) has the league’s third-best penalty-killing unit, with an 85.6 percent success rate.

 

– Sam Carchidi, Philadelphia Inquirer

GAME PREVIEW: Flyers vs. New York Rangers

Posted in Game Previews with tags , on December 18, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

The Game: The Philadelphia Flyers will look to extend their already-impressive win streak to five games when the New York Rangers visit the Wells Fargo Center Saturday afternoon.

The Flyers are coming off victories against Toronto, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Montreal, and are 6-1-3 in their last ten games.  That streak has propelled them atop the Atlantic Division and currently atop the entire NHL.  However, if there is another team as hot as the Flyers have been, it’s the New York Rangers.  The Blueshirts look like a different team than year’s past, and are currently riding a three game win streak, as well as having gone 7-3-0 in their last ten games.

The Story: Quite simply: this game is a great measuring stick for both the Flyers and the Rangers.  Obviously, the first time these two teams matched up, it was obvious New York was trying too hard to extract some revenge from a shootout loss that ended their year last season.  They were running around looking for the big hit far too often and it cost them, as the Flyers dominated en route to a 4-1 victory.  This time, however, there shouldn’t be any idea of retribution on the mind of the New York Rangers.  The team is coming off three consecutive impressive victories: a 7-0 annihilation of the Washington Capitals, a four-goal third period that led them to victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, and another come-from-behind win in a shootout over the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday night.  This game marks the first of a potential 15-19 contests that the Flyers will be without Chris Pronger, who broke a bone in his right foot during Wednesday’s victory over Montreal.  Still, it’s safe to say that the Rangers and Flyers are poised to showcase one helluva tilt this afternoon.

Who to Watch on the Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist, Goaltender.

Lundqvist has once again been solid this season for New York

With the Rangers’ best player out of the line-up for at least the next month and a half in Ryan Callahan, the ability to carry this team falls even more on New York’s all-world goaltender.  In the month of December, Lundqvist has been awesome, going 5-2-0 with two shutouts, and has pushed his record to 14-11-1 overall with a .921 save percentage and five shutouts on the season.  He’ll be counted on this afternoon to hang tough and keep the Rangers in the game against the Flyers’ balanced offensive attack.

The Skinny: This is the second meeting between the two teams this season, with two more scheduled over the next month or so.  The Flyers won the first contest between the two teams, as goals by Mike Richards, Blair Betts, Nikolay Zherdev, and Chris Pronger propelled the Orange and Black to a 4-1 win.  The Rangers have struggled against teams that aggressively forecheck them all season long, so there’s no reason Peter Laviolette should change-up his gameplan for this contest.  Pressure their defensemen, take the body, and crash Lundqvist’s crease, and they’ll be fine. 

Notes: I’m going to straight up guess here, so if I’m wrong don’t blame me: Brian Boucher will be the Flyers’ starting goaltender this afternoon.  Henrik Lundqvist to tend nets for the Rangers.  Today marks the beginning of life without Chris Pronger.  In his place, steps in Oskars Bartulis, who was a regular on the Flyers’ Stanley Cup Final team last season.  As I wrote yesterday, the pairings will likely be Matt Carle-Andrej Meszaros, Kimmo Timonen-Braydon Coburn, Oskars Bartulis-Sean O’Donnell.  Puck drops at 1PM EST at the Wells Fargo Center.  Enjoy this one, folks, it should be fun. 

GAME PREVIEW: Flyers vs. Ottawa Senators

Posted in Game Previews with tags , on November 15, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

The Game: The Philadelphia Flyers look to make it three in a row tonight when they welcome in the Ottawa Senators to the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia.

The Flyers defeated the Florida Panthers by a 5-2 final on Saturday night, giving them their second win in a row after an 8-1 drubbing of the Carolina Hurricanes last Thursday.  The Flyers are currently sitting in first place in the Atlantic Division, and in second place in the Eastern Conference having 22 points to their name.  The Orange and Black are currently playing some of their best hockey of this young season, going 9-0-1 in their last ten games and bringing their record to 11-4-2 overall.  The Senators have been surprisingly strong in the early goings, as well.  Ottawa enters tonight with a 9-7-1 record, and are four points behind Montreal for the top spot in the Northeast Division.  The Flyers take on the Habs tomorrow night.

The Story: The Philadelphia Flyers have been able to carry over the momentum they developed during last year’s Stanley Cup Final run into this season, and have thusfar looked like the true defending Conference champs, in that they certainly look like “the team” to beat in the East.  The Ottawa Senators were a few bounces away from eliminating last year’s defending Cup champs in the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2009 playoffs, losing to Pittsburgh four games to two, after squandering a 3-0 lead on their home ice in Game Six to blow a shot at a potential game seven (sound familiar, Flyers fans?).  Still, the Sens have come out incredibly strong this year, and are riding the wave of Brian Elliot, who has won five straight starts in net for Ottawa.  After two weaker opponents in Carolina and Florida, this Senators team will provide an interesting task for the Flyers this evening. 

Who to Watch on the Senators: Brian Elliott, Goaltender.

Elliott may be the next big goaltender in Ottawa

The main question coming into this season with Ottawa was simply how they would be able to put anyone in net who even had the remote ability of stopping a puck.  It turns out, Brian Elliott was tired of hearing those statements, and decided he’d just put them to rest before they got out of hand.  Elliot, as I said above, is in the midst of a five-game winning streak, which has vaulted Ottawa back into the Eastern Conference’s playoff picture.  During his win-streak, Elliott boasts .953 save percentage, which tells you just about all you need to know when wondering if the wins are a result of his play, or the defensive play of those around him.  The talent on Ottawa has never been denied, but the question as to whether or not their goaltending could hold up has always been Flyers-esque.  Now, however, Elliott is giving reason to believe in Canada’s capital city, and the Sens are definitely becoming a scary team in a very wide-open Eastern Conference. 

The Skinny: This is the first meeting between the Flyers and the Senators this season.  Last year, the Senators really had the Flyers’ number going 3-1-0 against Philadelphia, and outscoring the Orange and Black by a total of 12-9.  The goal totals in that statistic are a little misleading, however, as the majority of the Flyers’ goal output came from the first meeting between the two sides: a 5-1 drubbing of Ottawa by the Orange and Black.  After that game, it was all Sens all the time, outscoring the Flyers 11-4, and winning three straight contests. 

Notes: Tim Panaccio is reporting that Sergei Bobrovsky will once again get the start in net tonight.  The Senators will likely continue to ride the hot hand of Brian Elliott, meaning he’ll likely be tending the Ottawa net tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.  This is the first of back-to-back games for the Flyers to begin this week, as they will travel to Montreal immediately after tonight’s game to take on the Canadiens tomorrow night.  As for tonight’s contest, it’s a 7:00 PM EST puck drop. 

GAME PREVIEW: Flyers vs. Florida Panthers

Posted in Game Previews with tags , on November 13, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

The Game: The Philadelphia Flyers will look to create another win streak Saturday night as they go for their second win in a row when they take on the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Florida.

The Flyers returned from a three day lay-off with an 8-1 rout of the Carolina Hurricanes, highlighted by a 35-save effort from Sergei Bobrovsky and a natural hat-trick from Jeff Carter.  The Orange and Black are in first place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 10-4-2 and 22 points.  They have won seven of their last 8 and are 7-0-1 in that span.  The ‘Cats are 7-7-0 in 2010-2011, which has them in last place in the Southeast Division.  The Panthers trail first place Washington by ten points.  Florida hasn’t lost at home in their last three contests, however, a sign of a potential change of the times at the Bank Atlantic Center.  

The Story: This is the first of four meetings this year between the Flyers and the Panthers, with Florida surprisingly having won three of the four meetings between the two sides last year.  The Flyers’ lone victory was a 5-1 home win on October 24.  The Panthers’ General Manager, Dale Tallon, is the undisputed architect of last season’s Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, a team that defeated the Flyers in six games in the Stanley Cup Final.  

Who to Watch on the Panthers: Michael Frolik, Right Wing.

Frolik is one of the NHL's best unknown players

A member of one of the younger (and more inferior) teams in the National Hockey League this season, Frolik has shined in the early-going, posting ten points through the Panthers’ first 14 games (4 G, 6 A).   That mark is good enough for first place on the team in scoring.  Frolik is in his third NHL season, having posted 21 goals in each of his first two seasons.  Like his ex-teammate Nathan Horton who has been saved from the exile players experience in Florida by going to Boston in the off-season, Frolik is a relative unknown commodity in a non-hockey city.  Still, his talent is obvious and his skill set will be difficult for the Flyers to contain Saturday night.

The Skinny: The Flyers are five points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers, two teams tied for Second place in the Atlantic Division.  The Orange and Black have been red hot lately, going 7-0-1 in their last eight games, with their only slip-up being an overtime loss to Washington thanks to a bad call in favor of the Caps that extended into the overtime frame.  Sergei Bobrovsky continues to be incredible for the Flyers as a rookie, posting a 2.09 GAA and a .931 save percentage.

Notes: Look for Brian Boucher to finally get some action in net tonight for the Flyers, while Tomas Vokoun should tend goal for Florida.  Head Coach Pete DeBoer’s club is a bottom feeder in the National Hockey League this season, but you can bet his club will be anxious to get a shot at the defending Eastern Conference champions tonight.  Puck drops at 7:00 PM EST. 

GAME PREVIEW: Flyers vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Posted in Game Previews with tags , on November 11, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

The Game: The Philadelphia Flyers hit the ice for the first time since Sunday’s loss to the Washington Capitals that snapped a season high six-game win streak tonight when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Flyers are comfortably in first place in the Atlantic Division, entering tonight with a 9-4-2 record, and five points ahead of the second-place New York Rangers.  The Hurricanes enter tonight having destroyed the Edmonton Oilers 7-1 earlier this week and with a 8-7-0 record to their name.  They are battling with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Atlanta Thrashers for a second place spot in the Southeast Division.

The Story: Tonight’s game will be difficult in the sense that the Flyers will have some catching up to do not having played a game since Sunday.  The team has been on a bonding trip, having played golf in the Carolinas on Monday and Tuesday, and finally getting back on the ice at the RBC Center on Wednesday.  The Flyers have been able to earn points in their last seven contests, something they surely will be hoping they can continue tonight in Raleigh. 

Who to Watch on the Hurricanes: Eric Staal, Center.

Staal is one of the game's present-day greats

The best of the three Staals in the NHL today, Eric will be looking to take his spot in NHL history tonight as one more goal will give him 200 on the career.  Certainly, the Flyers are hoping that isn’t the case, but its easier said than done when talking about one of the NHL’s most gifted centermen.  The captain of Carolina – a role he assumed when Rod Brind’Amour stepped down last Spring – Staal has been an instrumental figure in Raleigh for the better part of the past decade, and was a member of the Cup-Winning team in 2006.  He works well at even strength and the power play and the Flyers will need to keep an eye on him tonight.

The Skinny: The Flyers have DOMINATED Carolina head to head in recent meetings.  Over the last 16 matchups between the two sides, the Flyers are 13-0-3 against the ‘Canes.  In the first matchup between the two sides this season, Philadelphia won by a score of 3-2, but if not for the goaltending of Jason Peters, the score likely would have been a lot more lopsided in the Flyers’ favor.

Notes: Sergei Bobrovsky for the Flyers, Cam Ward for Carolina.  JVR remains a healthy scratch in a lineup that has been very successful in his absence.  The Hurricanes are 5-5-0 in their last ten games, while the Flyers are 7-2-1. 

GAME PREVIEW: Flyers vs. New York Rangers

Posted in Game Previews with tags , on November 4, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

The Game: The Philadelphia Flyers look to make it five in a row tonight as they take on the New York Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Orange and Black have been on an absolute roll of late, and haven’t lost a contest since an embarrassing 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Blue Jackets over a week ago.  The Flyers have rolled off four straight wins, and have been anchored by Sergei Bobrovsky in net, who’s been in goal for every victory in the current win streak.  Their winning ways have led them to first place in the Atlantic Division entering tonight’s contest, with a 7-4-1 record.  The Rangers are also turning a lot of heads with their success early on in the season.  Taking a 6-4-1 record into tonight’s contest, the Broadway Blueshirts have relied heavily on strong defensive play in front of all-world goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to jumpstart them out of the gate in 2010-2011.  Like the Flyers, New York has also been out of action since a Monday victory over the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks at Madison Square Garden.

The Story: The story in tonight’s contest is quite possibly the best there has been for a Flyers game all year.  Everyone knows what happened the last time the Flyers and Rangers got together last season for game 82 of a wild and whacky regular season.  After 60 minutes of play heavily dominated by the Flyers, the Rangers, thanks to a herculean 46 save effort, were able to stay deadlocked with the Orange and Black in a 1-1 draw in a game that appeared to be destined for a shootout.  From there, the Flyers took over, as Claude Giroux and Danny Briere scored for the Orange and Black, while Brian Boucher shut the door and the Flyers began that improbable run of last spring.  This year, you can bet an angry bunch of Rangers will be coming to the Wells Fargo Center, looking to extract some revenge from the home team tonight.  For the sake of the Flyers, I hope they are willing to match the effort from New York tonight, because it certainly will be there. 

Who to Watch on the Rangers: Ryan Callahan, Right Wing.

Callahan has stepped up in the absence of NYR's big guns

With Chris Drury, Marian Gaborik, and Vinny Prospal all out extended time with a variety of injuries, someone in New York needed to step up to prevent a free-fall in the early part of the season in New York.  That person has turned out to be Rangers assistant captain Ryan Callahan.  The Rochester, NY native, and member of Team USA during the Vancouver Olympics last February, Callahan has paced the Rangers thus far this season, scoring four goals and adding nine assists through the team’s first 11 games, well on pace to surpass his totals of 19 goals and 18 assists last season.  “Cally” has also been a +1 so far on the scoresheet and has been playing on New York’s top unit alongside Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky.  He’s a gritty winger who is not afraid to get dirty in front of the net, and should make things difficult tonight for the Flyers defense, and their netminder Sergei Bobrovsky.  Callahan is someone to watch tonight.

The Skinny: It was fitting for the Flyers and the Rangers that last season would come down to a final game.  For one, the two teams, including that last game, split their season series on the year, with the Flyers winning two of the three games in South Philadelphia, and the Rangers winning two of three at the Garden.  The Flyers outscored New York 15-10 in their six meetings last season, highlighted by back-to-back shutouts of New York on December 30th and January 21st meetings. 

Notes: Peter Laviolette has announced that the Flyers will start Sergei Bobrovsky in net again tonight, while it’s almost a guarantee John Tortorella will put Henrik Lundqvist in goal for the New York Rangers.  Eric Wellwood should be in the line-up once again, as word out of the morning practice per Philly Sports Daily’s Steve Whyno is that Andreas Nodl is still not yet ready to go.  Wellwood had a strong debut Monday night.  Claude Giroux will look to continue his sizzling play tonight, as the Hearst, Ontario native has four goals and three assists during the four-game winning streak. 


GAME PREVIEW: Flyers vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Posted in Game Previews with tags , on November 1, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

The Game: The Flyers play their first of four regular season contests against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Hurricanes enter the game happy to be back on the road as the team is winless in their first two contests at the RBC Center.  On the road, Carolina has posted a 5-3-0 record, including a victory in their season opening series as the home team against the Minnesota Wild in Helsinki.  The ‘Canes enter tonight’s contest with a 5-5-0 record, and are currently 4th place in the Southeast Division – only five points behind first place Tampa Bay.  Carolina is coming off a 3-0 shutout at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and hasn’t scored a goal in two of their last three contests.  The Flyers, on the other hand, are rolling right now and enter tonight’s game on a three game win streak.  The team defeated Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and the New York Islanders last week after a disturbing 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets to begin the week.  The Orange and Black are 6-4-1 on the season, and tied for first place in the Atlantic Division with Pittsburgh.

The Story: Last season, the Carolina Hurricanes were the Philadelphia Flyers’ puppet.  The Orange and Black tarnished the ‘Canes on a consistent basis, sweeping the season series four games to none, and outscoring Carolina 16-6 in the process.  Michael Leighton tended net for one of the Hurricanes losses, as well as one of the Flyers wins after the Orange and Black claimed him off waivers from Carolina.  After a two-goal outburst Saturday against the Islanders, Jeff Carter could potentially get some consistent play going if history repeats itself tonight.  The Flyers sniper led all Philadelphia skaters last season with four goals against Carolina. 

Who to Watch on the Hurricanes: Jeff Skinner, Right Wing.

Skinner is an early contender for Rookie of the Year

 

Only one player has been able to even come close to matching Hurricanes superstar Eric Staal’s production this season.  And that player is a rookie.  Skinner, who was the 7th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has dazzled since his first game in the National Hockey League in Helsinki against Minnesota when he scored a beautiful shootout goal and put his skills on display.  Since then, he’s tied with Staal for the team lead in Carolina with 7 points (3G, 4A), and is second among NHL rookies in scoring.  It’s still too early to tell just how important Skinner will be to the ‘Canes in the long run, but it’s definitely worth nothing that he’s been one of their most important players in the early going.  The Flyers should certainly keep their eyes on number 53 in white tonight.

The Skinny: The Orange and Black enter tonight on their first 3-game win streak of the season, and thus, their longest win streak of the season so far.  Carolina is a young team in a very competitive Southeast Division with four teams including the ‘Canes (Caps, Thrashers, and Lightning) all looking like legitimate Eastern Conference playoff contenders out of the gate.  So, despite the fact that the Flyers have been rolling of late, it will be very important for them to come out firing again against a hungry Carolina team tonight.  The Hurricanes have already picked up five road wins, including a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers last week at Madison Square Garden.  If anything, that fact alone should keep the Orange and Black on their toes heading into tonight’s contest.

Notes: All three of the Flyers’ wins during this streak have come from Sergei Bobrovsky, and after an off-day as far as games are concerned, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Laviolette stick with what’s working and go with Bobrovsky again tonight against Carolina.  For the Hurricanes, look for Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe winning goaltender Cam Ward to be tending the nets.  Against the Flyers in his career, Ward is 3-6-2 with a 3.11 GAA and .891 SV %.