Gameday vs. New Jersey: Flyers Search for Answers
Philadelphia Flyers (4-9-1) vs. New Jersey Devils (3-7-4)
Wells Fargo Center — Philadelphia, Pa.
TV: CSN Philly - Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic - 7:00 p.m.
Setting the Stage
No two ways about it. This matchup showcases two teams dwelling in a dreadful Metropolitan Division's basement. By virtue of the "pity point," the Devils have one more point than the Flyers with one fewer win.
The Devils have been shut out in back-to-back games. Brayden Schenn's third goal beat them on Saturday 1-0, and a balanced Wild attack beat them 4-0 the very next day. At 41 years of age, Jaromir Jagr leads the Devils in scoring with 10 points in 14 games. No doubt he can still play at this elite level.
Hasn't been much better for the Flyers, who have two goals in their last two games. One goal was enough to beat New Jersey, and it was almost enough to beat Carolina if not for a last-minute Jordan Staal goal and a Manny Malhotra game-winner in overtime.
Now the team with the fewest goals in the NHL, how will the Flyers respond to Tuesday's horrifically boring game? Will they ever score more than three goals in a game for the second time this season?
What to Expect
Metropolitan Division members must have some sort of scoring plague. Five teams rank in the bottom ten in goal scoring. Statistically speaking, something has got to give, but perhaps it's just not their year offensively. Fans already are not happy, so anything bad that happens in the first few minutes will be magnified greatly.
It will come down to who can find a way to score more. Obvious, perhaps, but when two teams struggle to score as much as these two, nothing is guaranteed whatsoever.
The Masked Men
Philadelphia: Ray Emery (1-2-0, 3.58 GAA, .870 sv%)
Emery picked up his first shutout of the season against New Jersey two games ago in a stellar effort by the defense. Emery had to make just 14 saves.
Embroiled in what has been, simply speaking, an unneeded controversy over being a third star last Friday after being a brawl centerpiece, Emery will get his third start of the season.
New Jersey: Martin Brodeur (2-3-2, 2.68 GAA, .888 sv%)
Hardly Brodeur numbers, but at 41 years of age, not to mention a pretty bad defense in front of him, it would be hard to win games on a regular basis. Brodeur has played in four fewer games than Mason, but Brodeur has seen 164 fewer shots than Mason. Defense plays well in front of this living legend.
This surefire hall of famer has the ability to steal games even at 41. Brodeur doesn't lead in every goalie category ever for no reason.
Keys to the Game
1. String good, physical shifts together. A large issue plaguing this team is the ability to keep the puck hemmed in the offensive zone for a long time. Play a playoff-style game by playing intense, physical hockey to retrieve loose pucks. Keeping offensive zone time for longer than two seconds might be the only way to spark this team.
2. New defense continues to shine. Ever since Luke Schenn has been scratched, the Flyers as a whole have given up three goals against in two games. Not to say this is cause and effect, but right now, having Hal Gill and Andrej Meszaros as a third pairing looks good for now.
3. Score. If it's obvious, too bad, but for this team, it's not so obvious. They will need to score more than one goal to win. Make this the statement game and move from here. Head Coach Craig Berube has mixed line combinations again to try and spark scoring.
"At some point, they need to start producing." - Head Coach Craig Berube.