Flyers Pre-Season Opener vs. Devils
The Flyers will kick off the pre-season tonight against their Turnpike rivals the NJ Devils at the newly named Wells Fargo Center. This game is the first of a three game pre-season home stand.
The Flyers will be playing four games in the next five nights. That means in the next 5 days the Flyers will be through half of their pre-season schedule.This should give the coaching staff ample time to evaluate the college free agent pickups, young goalies and Bill Guerin.
The three home games will be televised locally in Philly. Tonights game will be on The Comcast Network (TCN) at 7:00 EST. Out of the eight pre-season games five will be televised, besides the three home games being televised locally the Sept.23 and 24th games against Toronto will be shown on the NHL Network.
Peter Laviolette will be making his pre-season debut with the Flyers tonight. His presence sparked the team last year and he was able to make the team buy into his style. He took a lazy John Stevens team and turned them into a relentless fore checking team in just a few months.This year he will have the full season to get the team and its new additions well conditioned to play his way. Look for him to once again motivate this team with his timely speeches and time outs.
Another pre-season debut for the Flyers tonight is Michael Leighton. This is new territory for him as he will be coming into this season as the number one goalie. He has never been a number one in the NHL. He has something to prove to himself, the Flyers and the fans. This is the first time he has a little stability in his life and has settled here in Philly. On a side note his new mask is sick and a great tribute to the Broad Street Bullies. See it here.
Here are some things to watch out for; The most obvious area will be goaltending. Leighton will be starting and Sergei Bobrovsky will get in at some point tonight. He is the Flyers Russian goalie prospect who arrived here in the summer with a lot of hype, maybe even a bit too much for right now.
The Devils will be coming to Philly tonight to meet the team who knocked them out in the first round in five games. They have made some changes this offseason. The one major addition was the pick up of Ilya Kovalchuk . I won't get into that as it has been beaten to death. After a long contract dispute with the NHL on Kovalchuk's contract the Devils finally got that worked out. They would pay the price though in the form of 3mil and 2 high draft picks with in the next 4 years. They will also have to rid themselves of some salary to keep under the cap.
The Devils also added Defensemen Anton Volchenkov in free agency. He will be the hard hitting defensemen they have been looking for since Scott Stevens retired. These two players and Broduer will not be in tonights lineup.
Here is the Devils lineup for tonights game