The early season has not been kind to Philadelphia. They started by losing their first three games and firing Peter Laviolette. Craig Berube came in and won his first game as head coach, but proceeded to lose the next four. Things are slightly looking up, though as they've won their last two against the Rangers and Islanders.
Keys to the Game: For once in Philly goaltending is not the one thing holding them back. It's not particularly good (although Steve Mason's .930 Sv% is surprisingly high) but the thing that's really killing them this year is lack of offense.
Captain, Spiritual Leader and guy who was once called the best player in the world, Claude Girioux has fewer goals than Mike Smith on the season. Vinny Lecavalier just jumped to the team goal scoring lead with a hat trick against the Islanders on Saturday. Prior to that he had one goal. That game against the Isles was the first time all season that they'd scored more than two goals in a game. And just generally you're not going to win a ton of games when you average 1.33 goals for, and leave it up to Mason and Ray Emery (because it's Philly, it still has to come back to the goalies, right?).
So what conclusion do we draw from this? The young defense of the Ducks may get a break tonight, but they'll need to be careful because the're is clearly more offensive talent on this Flyers roster than the numbers indicate.
What Can We Learn From this Game: If it wasn't for the massive amounts of injuries, this road trip wouldn't be completely attractions. The win in Columbus gave the Ducks a very good chance to pull out a winning record on this trip, as three of the remaining four teams they'll face are STRUGGLING.
Saku Koivu and Viktor Fasth have both been sent back to Anaheim for further evaluation. That's protocol for Koivu, after having been knocked unconscious on Sunday, but a very bad sign for the health of Fasth, in my opinion.
The good news however, is that Bruce Boudreau said that both Dustin Penner and Mathieu Perreault are "possibilities" for tonight. The way that Patrick Maroon has been playing though, makes me think that Perreault might be the more likely to break back into the lineup, to avoid having Ryan Getzlaf, Nick Bonino, Peter Holland and Rickard Rakell up the middle. Nothing against those guys, that's just a rather young raft of centermen.
Fearless Prediction: The Ducks crack double digits on the PP. No idea why I just jinxed them, but I've got a good feeling for no apparent reason.
Stay tuned here for updates throughout the day (lineup news, etc.) and start commenting. We'll have a quick stats pack shortly before puck drop for the in game comments to flow.