Better With Popcorn

Howe Sweet It Is, Flyers Look For Third Straight

Mark Howe played ten years for the Philadelphia Flyers (1982-1992), and is arguably the franchise's best defensemen. He played all of his home games as a Flyer inside the confines of the Spectrum, which no longer stands. 

 
Tonight the Flyers (36-21-7) will retire his number 2 during a pregame ceremony before they take on another former team of his, the Detroit Red Wings (43-20-3).
 
A banner with his name and number will be hoisted to the rafters high above the Wells Fargo Center ice to rest with the likes of Bernie Parent (1), Bob Clarke (16), Barry Ashbee (4), and Bill Barber (7). 
 
Mark Howe was an integral part of the Flyers of the 1980s and helped lead the franchise to two Stanley Cup appearances (1985 and 1987). He was a joy to watch as he brought calmness to the back line and his smooth skating made his transition game effortless. 
 
During his tenure the NHL had a sponsor called Emery Freight, a UPS/Fed-Ex type company. Each year they handed out the Emery Edge Award, a trophy given to the top rated +/- defenseman of the season. 
 
 
That trophy was given to Mark Howe during the 1985-86 season as he posted a +85 that season, leading the NHL. I watched that ceremony on Prism that year as the neighbor who lived behind my mom and dad's house worked for Emery and was going to present the award that night.
 
I knew this as he had asked my father to be his guest that evening earlier on that week. My dad is a big hockey fan and he is the reason I am as big a fan as I am today.
 
On that evening my father had the chance to go to dinner with Gordie Howe before the ceremony as he was going to be in attendance to watch his son accept the award. I remember how excited my dad was when he returned home that night. 
 
The excitement quickly became mine as he handed me and autographed picture of the legend himself, Gordie Howe. I still have that photo and will never let it out of my sight. 
 
It is a black and white glossy photo in his white Hartford Whalers uniform! The photo was sponsored by Emery Edge of course.
 
 
 
Matchup
 
This is the second and final meeting between these two teams this season. The Flyers lost the matchup in Detroit on February 12 (4-3), Sergei Bobrovsky was in net for the Flyers.
 
The injury bug is hitting all teams this season and the Flyers will catch some what of a break tonight when the Red Wings hit the ice. 
 
They will do so without its unbelievably talented play-making center Pavel Datsyuk, future hall of fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, Todd Bertuzzi and their starting goalie Jimmy Howard. 
 
Of course the Flyers are struggling with the same issues and it's still questionable whether Andrej Meszaros or Kimmo Timonen will return to the lineup.
 
Look For Ilya Bryzgalov to be between the pipes again tonight for his ninth straight start, he is 5-3 in his last eight. He is 8-8 lifetime versus the Red Wings with a .920 SV% and a 2.81 GAA.
 
During last season's play-offs when Phoenix faced Detroit, Bryzgalov had a GAA of 4.66 in two home games and a 4.07 in the games in Detroit ultimately falling four games to none.
 
Bryzgalov is coming off a shutout performance against the Washington Capitals. It was the first game in a long while that he didn't cough up a soft goal. Has he turned the corner? Tonight will be a big test and will tell exactly where Bryzgalov is in his road to recovery.
 
Step Up Players
 
Bryzgalov
 
Briere
 
Talbot
 
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