Flyers Look to Take Advantage of Struggling Devils
Philadelphia Flyers (19-21-3) vs New Jersey Devils (15-17-10)
Wells Fargo Center -- Philadelphia, PA
7:30 pm -- CSN and 93.3 FM WMMR
Setting the Stage
This is the final meeting between New Jersey and Philadelphia. New Jersey leads the season series, 2-1, with Philadelphia winning the latest match-up on March 15, a 2-1 shoot-out win.
The Flyers have won two straight and find themselves five points out of 8th place with five games remaining. New Jersey is currently six points out with six games left.
The Devils were in great shape back on March 23, but then went on a 10-game losing streak (0-6-4) and have dropped all the way down to 12th place in the conference. The last time two times the Flyers played teams with at least a five-game losing streak they lost both times.
The Devils will be without Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder) and Bryce Salvador (wrist) for tonight.
What to Expect
The Flyers need to remain hot if they want to pull off the seemingly impossible. They've scored 11 goals in their last two games following a four-game losing streak in which they scored only three times.
Claude Giroux has taken over the team lead in points with 44. He has 13 goals and a team-high 31 assists. Jakub Voracek leads the team with 19 goals and has 43 points on the year.
Patrik Elias leads the Devils with 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists). David Clarkson has a team-high 13 goals.
Philadelphia is 11th in scoring this season. New Jersey is 29th. The Flyers are the only team in the NHL to have both special teams placing in the top 6.
The Masked Men
Ilya Bryzgalov will get the start tonight. This says a lot for Peter Laviolette's confidence in Bryzgalov as the Flyers are playing crucial games at a crucial point this season, especially after Mason stole the show with a 38-save performance on Tuesday.
Martin Brodeur will be in net for the Devils. It's been a bad year for Marty, who missed some time with a back injury. He has a respectable 2.25 GAA and .901 save percentage this season in 25 starts.
Keys to the Game
1. Win. Don't focus on anything else but winning. Laviolette is stressing one game at a time. That's all they can do.
2. 60 Minutes. The Flyers were out-played by the Rangers on Tuesday, out-shot 40-22. They can't have a repeat effort like that again. Who knows if goal-tending will be able to steal them another game.
3. Bryz. Mason set the bar on Tuesday, stealing a win from New York with his performance. Bryzgalov is fighting for his job in Philadelphia. If he can resemble Mason's effort on Tuesday it will give his team a good chance to win and really boost Philadelphia's confidence in him going into next season.
"It’s the same story, we can’t be focusing on that. We have to be focused on what we have to do every game. Of course we’d love to have help from the other teams but games like tonight are the games you have to win. Teams that are in the same race, we just have to focus on us and just try to get better." -- Claude Giroux