As I said yesterday, Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter will be out tonight. Shortly after I made that post, most of you guys probably figured out from the Flyers official site that Gagne would be out about 3 weeks, and Carter is out indefinitely. A huge blow to our team. There goes two of our best two-way players, two of our best shooters, and two of our offensive leaders. You can’t replace guys like that, but Ville Leino will surely have a say in tonight’s game if he can get his game going. The question is, who will be the other guy?
Tim Panaccio’s HockeyBuzz blog pretty much said the same things we’ve all been saying; Laliberte, Cote, Nodl, or possibly Bartulis. Now, he is reporting that Laliberte will in fact be the guy, and he will play alongside Carcillo and Richards on the first line. Briere will be centering Leino and Hartnell, and Giroux will still be with JVR and Asham. The 4th line remains the same with Betts leading his unit of Lappy and Powe. I like what Laviolette is doing here with keeping the bottom lines intact, yet I really think they could get away with bumping Giroux up a line or two and giving him more ice time. Are you really going to trust Laliberte with first line minutes? These lines of course are not finalized, yet Panaccio is saying they are the most probable.
We’ll see how this works out tonight or if this even will stay the same. Don’t want to give them any hope tonight. Tonight’s about playing good hockey and trying to close out the series ASAP. Would love to see Kovalchuk’s face after we win tonight knowing he has still yet to win a playoff series.