Game Day: Flyers / Senators
Chris Pronger will make his first appearance in a game since breaking his foot five weeks ago. Pronger has missed thirteen games during his recovery while the Flyers were able to hold down the fort pretty well in his absence, going 9-4.
Having Pronger back has more positives than negatives obviously, but the fact is he needs some games to get into game shape and get his legs under him. His presence alone will help cut down the traffic in front and the unorganized play in their defensive zone.
It seems the Flyers defense had to give more of an effort to keep things a float in his absence and the one negative or caution to look out for tonight is a let down defensively. While you hope the Flyers won't lean on him too much tonight, you never can tell how they will react to his presence on the backline.
This will be the second of four meetings between these two teams this season. The Flyers took the first game this season by the score of 5-1. Mike Richards had two goals and Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves on 29 shots.
The Flyers are 32-28-8 versus the Senators lifetime and a home record of 20-12-2. The Flyers are riding a three game winning streak and will be looking to extend it to four tonight. In their last ten games the Flyers are 8-2-0 while the Senators have gone an abysmal 1-6-3 in theirs.
The opposing team's record should be no factor in how the Flyers play tonight, that mentality comes with being one of the best teams in the league, as every team is going to bring their best night in and night out.
The Flyers finally have moved back into first in the league in goals for with 3.41 while the Senators are 29th averaging 2.19 goals per. These two teams are at total opposite ends of the spectrum in the stats department and in the standings.
While the Flyers will welcome back Chris Pronger they need to be careful with how they handle it. They can not expect him to step in and be at full speed, on the other hand what ever speed he does play at tonight it would be an improvement over Bartulis and Walker.
A lot of times when a team's star comes back into the line up fans expect the team to play better, which is an obvious expectation. That is not always the case as sometimes teams have a tendency to relax mentally.
Sergei Bobrovsky will get the nod tonight as he has been good in his last two outings. Look for him to get more of the starts after the all-star game and down the stretch.
Bottom line is the Flyers need to take care of business tonight and put this team away early as they can not afford to give up another lead late in the game tonight. Hopefully with the presence of Pronger those types of let downs will be few and far between.
I believe the one area he will help will be in the goaltending area, just seemed to me there were a lot more weak goals with him out of the lineup, so keep an eye on that.
Step Up Players
Pronger, Bob, Hartnell