Flyers vs. Canadiens 12/18/2008
The Broad Street Bullies meet Les Glorieux on St. Catherine Street once again this evening for the third of four scheduled games this season. So far the Montrealers have dominated the regular season, but the Philadelphians rule the playoffs.
Mike Komisarek returns to the lineup for the first time in over a month after suffering a shoulder injury.
Saku Koivu, Chris Higgins, and Carey Price will all be on Montreal’s scratch list tonight due to injury.
On the Flyers side, our resident Quebecois Danny Briere and Marty Biron will both sit this one out. But not to fear – Simon Gagne will dress, and he’s from the opposite side of the province.
Checking out Bill Meltzer’s pregame blog, I noticed some fascinating special teams numbers. The Flyers have the second-ranked power play in the NHL and the sixth-ranked penalty kill. The Canadiens are 15th on the penalty kill and 28th on the power play. Amazing how special teams success – or lack thereof – can determine a team’s trajectory in the so-called “new” NHL.
Also stunning – the Flyers may have the second-ranked NHL power play, but they’re only ranked 24th on the road. That’s highly unusual since most teams struggle more at home with the extra man. Usually the pressure levied by the hometown crowd to shoot the puck damages the power play success rate. And the Flyers typically win more road games anyway. So what makes the power play a totally different animal from the rest of the Flyers’ game? A point to ponder for the future.
Enjoy tonight’s matchup, folks!
First intermission. Flyers 1 – Canadiens 3.
The Flyers dug themselves into a 3-goal hole early, and it’s going to be extremely tough to climb back out of this one. The Bell Centre is no easy place to play on the best of nights – and I wouldn’t exactly call this the best of nights for the Orange and Black.
That period came down to compete level. The Canadiens came prepared to dominate, pushing forward at all times and aggressively forechecking. Philly, on the other hand, laid back and failed to win any puck battles, whether along the boards or in the faceoff circle. He who controls the puck controls the scoreboard.
A buckled down second period on the Flyers part is going to be required if they want to crawl out of that hole.
Second intermission. Flyers 1 – Canadiens 4.
Two nights ago, we saw the version of the Flyers that outwork the opponent 100% of the time.
Tonight, we see the version of the Flyers that allow the opponent to outwork them.
Wonder which one is more effective?