Game Day: Flyers / Kings
With a day between games to think about the brutal 6-2 loss the Vancouver Canucks handed the Flyers on Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Flyers (22-9-5) will head to Hollywood to take on the Los Angeles Kings (22-12-1) at 10:30pm EST.
With the eight day layoff and the losses suffered right before and right after the break, the Flyers have slipped to the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference, trailing Pittsburgh,Washington and Boston.
The Kings will be playing the second game of back to backs tonight and their third game in four nights when they face the Flyers. Last night they suffered a 6-3 loss to the Coyotes in which the Coyotes scored four first period goals. This could be good timing for the slumping Flyers .
Tonight's matchup between two fourth place teams in their respective conferences will be another test these Philadelphia Flyers.
They entered this road trip down their top D-man and again suffered a setback last night when Kimmo Timonen received a lower body injury causing him not to finish the third period. He is about 50/50 on playing tonight so the Flyers have called up undrafted rookie Erik Gustafsson from the Phantoms.
He was impressive in training camp and currently leads the Phantoms in scoring with four goals and 22 assists for 26 points in 33 games. Look for him to play if Timonen can't go or they want to replace Bartulis as he has not been too impressive.
Luckily for the Flyers they have had some success against the Kings in the past. The Flyers are 81-37-16 all time versus the Kings and are 39-22-8 in the Kings castle. The Flyers also have a two game win streak going against the Kings.
The Flyers have also dropped to fourth in goals for with 3.28 average per game. The kings come in at the eleventh spot with 2.23 goals per game. On the flip side the Kings a ranked number two for goals against with 2.91 per game just behind Boston who just allows 2.03 goals per game.
The Flyers come in at the sixth spot allowing 2.50 goals per game. Both these teams are coming off poor performances in which they surrendered six goals in their last outings.
In The Nets
For the Flyers there are rumors that Michael Leighton could see his first action of the season. It's a good spot to put him in, on the road with both goaltenders struggling in their last two games.
They have to evaluate their goaltenders as they will not carry three past the trade deadline unless one of them suffers an injury. The question becomes who sits in the press box ?
I would venture to guess it would be Boosh just because he will be able to handle it mentally, where as Bobrovsky may not take it so well.
The Kings have options as well and will need to make a decision on which goalie they will start between Jonathan Quick (18-8-1) and Jonathan Bernier (4-5).
Quick has been really good this season and registered two shutouts in his last three starts including last night's blow out in which he was pulled after allowing six goals on 18 shots.
Quick also had a 1.86 GAA coming into last nights blowout, he now has a 2.05 still good for second in the league. Quick has the stats to start but did not look good last night so Bernier may get the nod.
The Flyers should come out tonight aggressive looking to take back the points they have surrendered in their last two games. They have given up eleven goals in their last two games while only scoring two.
With the ailing Timonen possibly sitting the Flyers would be in for even more of a challenge as Erik Gustafsson would be making his NHL debut and would not have the luxury of pairing with Timonen.
If that is the case maybe pairing him with O'Donnell would put him in the best position to succeed.
No matter what the Flyers need to be better in all areas of their game, especially on special teams. They also need to clear the front of the net better as too many times the D-man is standing off to the side watching the play not covering a man. That has to change or it will not matter who the Flyers dress in goal here on out.
They have been playing lazy waiting for the other guy to forecheck or backcheck, prime example was Jeff Carter and his lazy back check that saw his man pick the rebound up off the post and ram it in the open net. Let's hope Laviolette addressed this to his team at some point in the last two days.
Step Up Players
Carter, Leighton (if he starts), O'Donnell