Last week in Montreal, the Flyers got shut out 3-0 by giving up a pair of powerplay goals and failing to capitalize on their own powerplay chances. The Canadiens carried the play in the first and then caused the Flyers to play catch-up the whole game. Tonight, the scene will shift to Philadelphia and the annoying Habs fans won’t have a chance to sing their “Nah nah nah nah hey hey goodbye” for a regular season game. The Flyers are definitely looking forward to this one as a chance to build on the sloppy game yet solid effort that they won in a shootout on Saturday against the Caps. Subban and Richards exchanged pleasantries last time around, so look for that if the game gets out of hand.
The Flyers powerplay needs to keep things simple and get shots on net with traffic in front. That’s how they were so successful earlier this month, and that’s how Flyers hockey scores on the powerplay more often than not. The penalty kill needs to tighten up for sure, but the amount of penalties taken needs to be cut down. Danny Briere’s stick infraction last game nearly lost them the game, and it can’t happen again. Good teams will make you pay for that usually, but we got a little lucky on Saturday.
They need to test Price early and often. I doubt he’s going to return another 41 save performance in Philly tonight. Boosh will get the start again tonight, and they need to make sure he feels comfortable early or it could be a long night.
James Van Riemsdyk had his best game of the season on Saturday. He was all over the ice, taking the body, and cycling the puck down low using his size. This was the JVR we wanted to see this year, and he needs to take that game and flush it. He may have played well, but the only way to show your coach that you shouldn’t be scratched again when Carcillo returns is to keep building on each game and getting better. He should be getting that first goal soon, why not tonight? If he keeps working hard and stops trying to be too fancy with the puck, the bounces will come his way.
There’s been a lot of talk about Bobrovsky being rested the past two games, but I think this is a good thing. He can take a step back and evaluate what went well with those 10+ games he saw action in and what didn’t go so well. Jeff Reese can show him some film and work him to improve his game. This also gives Boosh a chance to get some work in because you can’t play an 82-game season and win with just one goalie in today’s league. Bobs is our starter for sure, but right now as a young goaltender still acclimating to the North American culture and game, a break can be a good thing.
Tonight should be a good hockey game for fans in general, then the Flyers travel to Minnesota, back home to take on Calgary, then to New Jersey to meet the Devils for the first time this season. Should be an interesting Thanksgiving week/weekend.