The Philadelphia Flyers visit the MTS center tonight to face off against the Winnipeg Jets. This has become a great rivalry, especially in Winnipeg due to some comments made, by then Phoenix Coyote goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, about a possible movement to Winnipeg. Jets fans have held on to that comment and do their best to get their revenge every time Philadelphia visits. Last season Winnipeg had the Flyers number going 3-0-1 against them including a much talked about 9-8 victory in Philadelphia. Neither team has gotten off to great starts and will be looking to get a big win.
Philadelphia plays their second game in as many nights tonight after being dropped by the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 5-2. The Flyers were dominated right from the opening face off and were never really in the game. Goaltending will be a question mark for Philly as Bryzgalov had a rough outing last night and Brian Boucher got his first taste of NHL action this season. Although getting off to a slow start Claude Giroux is still the undisputed leader of this team and can turn a game around in just one shift. With Briere, Simmonds and plenty of young talent offense is available for the Flyers but due to injury their blue line remains thin and will be a question mark.
The Flyers are coming into the MTS center on a back to back after being in Toronto last night. In the past this has been a recipe for success for Winnipeg as they went 9-2-1 against opponents in that position. Another encouraging point for Winnipeg is what looks to be the return of Dustin Byfuglien who has said he is ready to go. The return of his big body and ability to move the puck should be a boost to the Jets confidence. Ondrej Pavelec could be another return to the Jets lineup as he skated Monday and coach Claude Noel has stated it will be a game time decision on whether he will be able to start coming off the flu which kept him out of the net Saturday against Ottawa. Ottawa has to be a building point for the team playing very strong defensively and getting enough offense to win.
Keys to the Game
Goaltending: Question marks surround the goaltending of both teams but it is clear whoever stands between the pipes has to be good if they want a chance to win. Al Montoya was great in Ottawa over the weekend getting the shutout in a 1-0 win, but appears to be the back up if Pavelec is healthy. On the other end last night in Toronto Ilya Bryzgalov gave up 4 goals on 14 shots in just over a period of play. Brian Boucher played well enough in the rest of the game but if they will want to start him on short rest remains to be seen.
Tempo: The Flyers are sure to be fatigued after last nights game so Winnipeg needs to take the game to them and play a high tempo hard-hitting game. Winnipeg is sure to gain an advantage if they play fast and take the body at every opportunity. Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler should be players to watch as they like to use their speed to take defenders wide.
Toughness: Philadelphia has long been known for their hard-hitting, mean ways. Winnipeg can not be intimidated and has to play Philadelphia just as hard. Although it appears Claude Noel is happy with his roster this may be the perfect opportunity for waiver pick up Anthony Peluso to get his first look at action.
Ondrej Pavelec (3-5-1) GAA: 3.28 SV% .885
Ilya Bryzgalov (5-6-1) GAA: 2.27 SV% .921
Bogosian WPG, (Wrist) out
Miettenen WPG, (Upper body) out
Leighton PHI, (Upper Body) out
Hartnell PHI, (Broken Foot) out
Meszaros PHI, (Shoulder) out
Bourdon PHI, (Concussion) out
Walker PHI, (Back) out
Pronger PHI, (Post Concussion Syndrome) out
Last 10 (W-L-OTL)
Jets: 5-4-1 Flyers: 5-4-1
Jets dominate on home ice
Jets 5 Flyers 2