Flyers Need To Carry Momentum Over Into Big Weekend
A lot could change for the Flyers this weekend.
They’ll face the New Jersey Devils on Saturday and the New York Rangers on Sunday, and both games may have a major impact on the team in the standings.
If Philadelphia pulls off a weekend sweep of both of their division rivals, they could end up sitting atop the Eastern Conference by Sunday evening.
They haven’t been in that position since December 22.
A win over the Devils on Saturday would gain them two points in the standings, putting them at 68 and in prime position to take the top spot in the East from the Rangers.
Though they’ve been sharp on the road all season, the Flyers (30-14-6) have struggled to maintain consistency at home.
On Thursday, they played a very strong game against the Nashville Predators, who had won five in a row prior to the 4-1 loss handed to them by the Flyers.
The team was firing on all cylinders, something that fans haven’t seen too much of this season.
Wayne Simmonds netted two goals, while Matt Read and Claude Giroux were responsible for the other two.
The defense played strong, and Ilya Bryzgalov put on another great performance, his second in a row.
Since returning from the All-Star break, Bryz has been playing very well.
He seems to be seeing the puck much better than before, and his confidence in himself is higher after two back-to-back strong performances in net.
Bryzgalov has a 3-1 record over the Devils in his career, and has a 2-0 record against them as a member of the Flyers.
His only shutout of this season came against New Jersey on October 8.
Backup goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has a 1-0-1 record against the Devils as a Flyer.
He has played fantastically in net for the team this season, and could possibly start on Saturday to give Bryzgalov rest before Sunday’s matchup against New York.
Backup Johan Hedberg will handle goaltending duties for New Jersey.
He has a 12-7-1 record this season, and a 8-10-1 record against the Flyers in his career.
Not exactly impressive, but the Devils might not have had a choice.
Their number one goaltender, Martin Brodeur, has struggled mightily against the Flyers as of late.
He’s lost six straight to them in Philadelphia.
Despite how he’s been playing well since the All-Star break, the Devils might not have wanted to take the risk as this is an important weekend for them as well.
If they lose to Philadelphia on Saturday and Pittsburgh on Sunday, they will be out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference.
However, the Flyers won’t be focused on knocking the Devils out of the playoff race on Saturday.
Instead, they will be looking to carry over the momentum from their victory against Nashville as well as improve both their record at home and their overall record in the standings.
It’s been a while since the Flyers have led the Eastern Conference, but they and their fans could very well be celebrating a climb back to the top come Sunday.