Flyers Look For Better Finish In Carolina
The Philadelphia Flyers (24-12-4) have struggled since the start of the New Year. They have surrendered leads in all four of their games in the month of January and are 1-2-1 during that span.
Tonight they will look to turn things around against the Carolina Hurricanes (14-22-7), a team who they have dominated in the past.
The Flyers have won two of the three meetings this season and are 35-13-7 overall and 17-3-3 since the 2006 season (9-1-1 in Carolina).
In order to keep this trend going the Flyers will need a bit more production from their top line as they did not manage a point in the weekend series against Ottawa.
They will look to get their scoring touch back as Jagr, Giroux and Hartnell have combined for 6 goals and 8 assists in this season's series.
The Hurricanes have struggled lately going 1-3 in their last four games but may just find the spark they need playing in front of their home crowd where they are 4-0-1 in their last five home games.
Look for the Hurricanes to try to slow the Flyers down by bringing a physical approach to tonight's game.
A Look At Lavy
Peter Laviolette made two decisions during the Winter Classic that will have an impact one way or another.
The New Year started just as last season ended with a goaltending decision. Peter Laviolette's first chess move of 2012 was starting Sergei Bobrovsky instead of Ilya Bryzgalov at the Winter Classic.
A game that proved to be bigger than just being the Winter Classic, it was also a battle for first place in the Atlantic division. This was a move that Laviolette made on the recent play of the two goaltenders.
Some questioned the move saying that this may break Bryzgalov's mental state and possibly lose him for the rest of the season.
Others saw it as a bold move that would send a clear message to Bryzgalov and the rest of the Flyers locker room regarding playing time.
Bryzgalov's confidence is shot right now and you can see it in his body language as the shooter approaches the net. In his last seven starts he is 2-4-1 with a 4.11 GAA justifying his benching in the Winter Classic.
There are questions that will remain to be seen. How will Laviolette handle him the rest of the season? Will Bryzgalov settle down before the playoffs?
It’s a good thing there is a little more than half the season left to go and still plenty of hockey for Bryzgalov to get back on track.
How will sending Danny Briere out to take the penalty shot versus Henrik Lunqvuist instead of the team’s leading scorer Claude Giroux affect him?
Giroux is having the best season of his young career and has shown he can carry this team on his back by scoring some timely goals this season.
You have to ask yourself one question, how many other coaches in the league would have picked Giroux over Briere in that situation?
This may not be relevant, in fact it may even raise Giroux's game who has just 2 points (assists) in his last three games. We will just have to wait and see.
Step Up Players
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