Better With Popcorn

Weekly Flyers Preview: Oct. 20-Oct. 26

The Flyers look to build off of Saturday’s win in Dallas. It will be tough as their rough October continues with some of the NHL's top teams. This week's opponents are three of the last five Stanley Cup champions.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 @ Chicago Blackhawks (3-0-1, 7 points, 2nd Central) 8:30, NBCSN

Chicago has played well early this season, with their only blemish coming in an overtime loss to Calgary. In that game, the Blackhawks peppered Flames goalie Jonas Hiller with 50 shots but were only able to score once. Chicago will be finishing up a four game homestand in the game against the Flyers.

In the early going, Chicago has a trio of players (Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, Andrew Shaw) leading the way with two goals. Sharp also leads the club with four points, along with Jonathan Toews (one goal, three assists).

Newcomer Brad Richards has yet to get on the scoresheet this season, but has 16 career goals in 59 games against the Flyers (including postseason).

Kris Versteeg is expected to return from a lower body injury for this game and looks to skate with Patrick Kane and Shaw.

Corey Crawford has played all four games, winning three. He'll get his first night off, giving way to Antii Raanta. Raanta has a 2.71 GAA and .897 save percentage in 25 career games. Raanta played against the Flyers twice last year and went 1-0-1 with a 2.41 GAA and .925 save percentage.

WednesdayOctober, 22, 2014 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (3-1-0, 6 points, 3rd Metropolitan) 8:00, NBCSN

Flyers fans are far too familiar with the cross-state rivals from Pittsburgh. This season, the Penguins have won three of their four games, with the loss coming to Dallas last weekend. In that game, the Pens lead by one with three minutes to go, and then allowed two in regulation to lose to the Stars.

As no surprise, Sidney Crosby leads the team in points (nine) and co-leads in goals with four (along with Patric Hornqvist). Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz and Brandon Sutter all have two goals each for the league’s number one ranked offense (4.0 goals per game).

Marc-Andre Fleury is still the man between the pipes for Pittsburgh, starting all four games this season. His goals against average sits at 2.50 and his save percentage is at .915.

Crosby and Craig Adams have added some feul to the rivalry in the early going as well. Adams questioned the parenting method of Flyers fans in reference to his team's star, who in turn, dressed as Philly's movie icon, Rocky, at a Halloween party over the weeend.

Saturday, October 25, 2014 vs. Detroit Red Wings (3-1-1, 7 points, 3rd Atlantic) 7:00, CSN

The Flyers return home to face Detroit on Saturday. Of Detroit’s two losses, one has come in the shootout; their only regulation loss was a 3-2 decision against Anaheim on October 11.

The offense has come from Gustav Nyquist this season with four goals in five games. Both Johan Franzen and Justin Abdelkader have a pair of goals each. Old reliable Henrik Zetterberg leads the club with six points (one goal, five assists).

Pavel Datsyuk has yet to play in a game this season, due to a shoulder injury, but should be back in the lineup by Saturday. However, Franzen may miss the game as a groin injury has forced him to the injured reserve.

Goaltender Jimmy Howard has gotten the bulk of the work, despite a sore groin of his own. He’s gone 2-1-1, but has a 1.72 goals against average and has saved 93.4 percent of shots faced.

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Dan MacNeal
Staff Writer
Twitter: @Realdeal411@TCLFlyers