Flyers Cap Off Homestand vs. Habs
Philadelphia Flyers (15-17-3) vs. Montreal Canadiens (23-7-5)
Wells Fargo Center — Philadelphia, Pa.
Comcast Sportsnet + 93.3 FM WMMR
Setting the Stage
On deadine day, depending on if the Flyers or the Canadiens make a move, it could change the complexion of this game. Last time out, the Canadiens smoked the Flyers by sleepwalking through a 4-1 win at the Bell Centre on February 16. It was one of only two games this season where a Flyers backup started the game. That time, Brian Boucher had the dishonorable distinction of being that guy.
The Flyers have pulled off two moves at the trade deadline, so to speak, by waiving defenseman Kurtis Foster, and trading speedy forward Harry Zolnierczyk to Anaheim for bruising utility player Jay Rosehill. The Habs have stood pat to this point.
What to Expect
No ifs, ands, or buts about it. This game is absolutely critical if the Flyers want to proceed with the playoff push. Down six points to the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils, the Flyers must leapfrog four teams, including hard-charging Washington and now outside-looking-in New York Rangers. Thankfully, the Flyers have two games in hand on the eighth place Isles.
They have kept pace to this point, but if they want to make a charge, they need to extend this winning streak past a measly two games. The men in orange haven't strung together a winning streak past three this entire season.
The Habs on the other hand have won three straight, including the season's best game against the Boston Bruins. They crushed the Carolina Hurricanes the other night as well. Not much is going wrong for them after a season where everything did.
This game will be vivacious, and of paramount importance. With the crowd rocking, it might feel like a playoff game. Maybe a little Orange Crush in the house?
The Masked Men
As the playoff push continues, so does the starting overload of Russian goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov (15-14-3). This will be Bryzgalov's 19th straight start, and his 33rd in 35 games total. His 25 saves helped the Flyers to a thrilling 5-4 overtime victory over the Capitals. He also led the team to a 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday. Bryzgalov is 2-1-0 in Wednesday games.
Carey Price (18-6-4) will (likely) get the start for the Canadiens. Price is now the eighth goaltender in NHL history to play 300 games in the NHL by age 25. Techincally sound, and always in control, Price has had a history of frustrating the Flyers. He has won his last two starts, giving up one goal against total.
Keys to the Game
1. Emotions. Coming off of a 5-4 win over the Capitals, Matt Read said this team now has the confidence they lacked prior. If that is the case, then that confidence will go a long way both offensively and defensively today.
2. Solving Price. This team has had its fair share of failures against Carey Price. If he can be solved early, and the Flyers can score the first goal, it may change things.
3. Trade Deadline Impact. If players are traded today on either side, it may impact the lineup and the psyche of the team. Will the Flyers give up a big piece today? Not likely. But if they do, it very well may affect the way the team plays in the long run.
"Hopefully we can keep having fun in this locker room, find ways to win hockey games, and make a run for a top eight position." - Matt Read on the newfound confidence.