The Flyers own a 2-2-1 record going into their 6th game of the season to continue their 5-game homestand against the Anaheim Ducks. Coming off their 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh last Saturday, the Flyers have had some time off from games until Thursday. They got to enjoy a full day off and have been conducting full practices and skates to keep the legs moving. They have a few things that they need to work on to get above .500, and hopefully they are rectifying some of the glaring holes in their game during this week.
Conditioning from practices this week will hopefully be hard, because the early season is the best time to get in game shape and guys like Chris Pronger are going to need it since he did not play in training camp. The line-up should be shuffled a bit over the next few games to accommodate different looks with guys like Andreas Nodl starting to break into the Flyers line-up. He skated pretty well with Carter and Richards, but I really think that Richie and Carter need to get separated for a game or two to see how they play with other players. I’d love to see a line getting Giroux some time with Carter and Zherdev/JVR. Richards is the kind of player that could very well center a third line with Nodl/Carcillo and Hartnell. Some tinkering could definitely produce results with the depth and talent we have.
The defense is also going to need to tighten up, which will happen in time as Chris Pronger adjusts his game back to usual. Our defense has been playing a little too much though due to the amount of penalties we’ve taken so far, especially in the last 3 games. Bobrovsky has been good, but still shows signs of a young goaltender adjusting to a foreign North American game. I still look forward to his development as our goaltender though. These next two games against Anaheim and Toronto at home are big. Anaheim has struggled out of the gate but look for Sbisa and Lupul to want to play against their former team, and don’t count out Bobby Ryan returning home to have a good game. Hopefully Pronger gets into form to play his former team because Saturday against the Leafs will be the Flyers looking to hand them a loss; something that they haven’t experienced in regulation this season yet (4-0-1).
After this homestand, it’s to Columbus, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Long Island for a little road trip. Those are some good hockey teams and the Flyers can’t afford to get behind in games at this juncture in the season. Slow starts are often hard to overcome, as previous Flyers teams have proven.