Is It Too Leight For The Flyers ?
With just two games left in the regular season the Philadelphia Flyers (46-23-11) will try to get back on track tonight when they travel to Buffalo to take on possible first round opponent, Buffalo Sabres (41-29-10) at 7:30 PM EST.
The Flyers, losers of four straight and 13 of their last 19 games managed only 17 points in that span. The Sabres have been playing well down the stretch, they are 7-1-2 in their last ten. They need one win to clinch a playoff spot and can finish as high as the sixth seed if Montreal stumbles.
This will be the fourth and final meeting of the regular season for these two teams with the Flyers taking two of three and the Sabres taking the most recent on March 5 in Philly, 5-3. In the three matchups versus the Sabres the Flyers managed to score a total of 14 goals, 5 on the power play.
Speaking of the power play, the Sabres have the advantage connecting 19 % of the time with the man advantage. Although the Flyers are five for eleven versus the Sabres this season on the power play, they are 19th in the league with a 16.6 % success rate.
On the penalty kill both the Sabres and the Flyers have an 83 % kill rate, good for 14th and 15th in the league respectively. Expect the Sabres to give the Flyers their best tonight as they to are trying to grab the best possible playoff position they can.
Some of the players to keep an eye on during tonight's game. Thomas Vanek is leading the team in points with 70 and also leads the team in goals with 31. Drew Stafford is right behind Vanek in goals with 30, 11 of them coming on the power play, and is third on the team in points with 51. 10 of Drew Stafford's 30 goals came on the power play.
Brad Boyes is second on the team in points with 52, he has 17 goals. Jason Pominville and Tyler Ennis round it out with 20 goals 49 points and 19 goals and 48 points respectively. Ryan Miller looks to be a game time decision for the Sabres tonight which could be a good thing for him coming off his back injury. He is 4-4 with a 3.26 goals against average in his last eight starts against the Flyers.
This is not good for the Flyers as they struggle even more than normal against unknown goalies or ones they rarely face. They will see Jhonas Enroth who is 12-12 with a 2.49 goals against average and has one shutout this season, one more than the Flyers.
The Flyers will be getting back Danny Briere for tonight's game, he has had some success this season versus his old team. He has two goals and four assists in the three previous meetings. Looks like Laviolette has given Bobrovsky the nod for the game as Buffalo could be a possible first round opponent for the Flyers, Bobrovsky has been named the playoff starter earlier in the week.
After two closed door meetings this week the Flyers will look to take the advice from their captain and general manager and get their heads out their asses. Mike Richards does not come off to be someone who grabs attention of his teammates in a meeting.
He is not a Rah Rah guy and is a pretty monotone speaker. Is Richards that type of leader ? He seems to be a lead by example captain and could be leading this team into an early off season with the teams lackadaisical play in the last quarter of the season.
Hopefully Paul Holmgren got the message across as he is the type of guy to raise his voice and be a little intimidating as he once was as a player. Read what some of the Flyers had to say about Holmgren's intimidating pep talk.
It will be interesting to see how the Flyers start this game and will be more interesting on how they finish it. If these meetings do not work and this team plays these last two games and game one in the playoffs like they have lately, there may be only one last thing that could inject some spark into this team and that would be the insertion of Michael Leighton in goal.
They did not bring him up to mess up practice(two nets three goalies)they brought him here for a reason, don't be fooled when Holmgren says it is a depth move, what other team in the playoffs with two healthy goalies have a third on their roster ?
This team played with confidence in front of Leighton last year and have been through a lot together in the short time he has been here. There is a bond that has been built and it may need to be used to inject some life into this cadaver of a team.
Flyers Playoff Scenarios
- If Capitals get one point they clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference
- Flyers can finish no worse then the fourth seed which gives them home ice in the first round
- Flyers can get top seed in the conference if they win their remaining two games in regulation
- Flyers need three points to clinch the Atlantic Division over Pittsburgh
Step Up Players
Richards (walk the walk)
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