Flyers Look To End Road Trip With Third Win In A Row
After back-to-back wins against the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders, the Philadelphia Flyers (26-12-4) will look to make it three in a row when they face the Nashville Predators (24-15-4).
The Flyers aren’t the only ones currently riding a win streak. Nashville’s overtime victory over Colorado on Thursday night made it three in a row for the Preds.
The outstanding play of backup goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has been the hot topic over this past week, as his brilliance in net over the last two games has been the difference maker.
While Bobrovsky has certainly been the main focus this past week, the recent performance of the Flyers rookies cannot be overlooked.
The rookies have combined for 15 points over the last five games, and provided the majority of the offense in both the Carolina and New York games, scoring three of the five goals netted by the Flyers.
Saturday’s will be the first meeting of the season between these two teams. They faced one another only once last season, with the Flyers walking away with a 3-2 victory.
The Flyers currently hold the best road record in the NHL at 16-6-2, and will aim to end this road trip on a high note.
Nashville has been playing well at home this season and are 9th in the league with a 13-7-3 record. Their 13 home wins are tied for third in the league.
It will be interesting to see if Laviolette chooses to ride the hot hand and give Sergei Bobrovsky his third start in a row on Saturday or turns the netminder duties over to Ilya Bryzgalov, who has struggled as of late but has decent career numbers (8-5-3) against Nashville.
Regardless of whether it's Bob or Bryz in net for the Flyers, the advantage goes to Nashville when it comes to play between the pipes.
Starter Pekke Rinne is having himself another great season so far, with a 22-11-4 record in 39 starts. His 22 wins place him 2nd in league standings, and he has done well in net, maintaining a 2.55 goals-against average and a save percentage of .919.
When it comes to offensive production, the Flyers have the definite advantage.
Though quiet as of late, their first line combination of Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, and Jaromir Jagr have put up a total of 119 points in their first 42 games.
Nashville’s first-liners Colin Wilson, David Legwand, and Patric Hornqvist have tallied 69 points in their first 42 games.
Hornqvist has been on a hot streak lately, scoring five points in his last five games, including three goals.
As we saw in Pittsburgh when Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot made their returns for the first time this season, homecomings have been sweet for some Flyers.
Both Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen started their careers in Nashville, and will surely both be looking to get on the scoresheet against their former team.
One major storyline to focus on in this game is the performance of Nashville’s defensemen.
As trade rumors swirl, the Flyers have shown a lot of interest in Nashville’s star defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.
The performance of the defensemen on both sides of the ice Saturday night may very well lead to some roster changes for these two teams, and is something to keep an eye on.
STEP UP PLAYERS