Better With Popcorn

Flyers Back Home To Face The Wild

The Philadelphia Flyers (26-13-4) have played 15 of their last 21 games in enemy territory and have returned home 2-2 from their most recent trip, which ended with a 4-2 loss in Nashville. 

The good news for the Flyers is they will be home for three of their next five games leading up to the All-Star break.

 In fact, the Flyers will be playing the majority of their remaining 39 games at home (23) this season.

Tonight the Flyers will host a Minnesota Wild (22-16-7) team who started the year red hot, 11-4 in November, but have since cooled. 

 

Matchup

The Wild are a struggling road team as of late, they are 0-7-2 since their last road victory on December 10th. In fact the Wild are just 2-9-4 in their last 14 games overall. 

They sit in the 14th spot in the league with 51 points, just five points behind the Flyers. The Wild come into Philly fresh off a 3-2 overtime loss in St. Louis, a game in which backup goaltender Josh Harding stopped 47 shots.

The Flyers will catch a break tonight as the Wild will be without their leading scorer, Mikko Koivu (33 pts) who left in the first period of the St. Louis game with a shoulder injury. 

This may be just what the Flyers need to get past the Wild in their own building as Minnesota is looking for their third win in just four meetings in Philly. 

Meanwhile the Flyers will look to bounce back from the disappointing end to their four game road trip as they try to extend their mini home win streak to three. 

There is no doubt the Flyers will need Claude Giroux and the rest of the top line to contribute more consistently the rest of the way. Not much has come easy for Claude Giroux since he was sidelined after suffering a concussion last month. 

He tallied a goal and three assists in his return to the ice on December 21st, since that game Giroux has one goal and five assists in ten games. 

With the most recent loss of James van Riemsdyk (Concussion) the Flyers will need Giroux and the rest of his linemates to get back on track. 

One player who the Flyers may look to remain hot is rookie Sean Couturier who has four goals and one assist in his last four games. He is one of twelve rookies selected to participate in the NHL's All-Star weekend. 

Couturier leads all rookies in plus/minus (+6) and ranks ninth among rookies in goals (9) and assists (16). He is also doing his share in the face-off circle winning 46.2% of his draws which will be needed tonight as the Wild are fourth in the league in face-off percentage (52%). 

Couturier has also developed a nice go-to shot; coming down the right side, picking the corner over the goalies right shoulder. It is a deadly shot, one the Flyers will need the rest of the season.

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Comments

Mark Trible's picture

I'm interested to see how they hand out ice time with the fourth line players sans shelley