Philadelphia enters tonights matchup losing to the Panthers on Sunday 4-1. The Flyers look to end a 3-game skid against the team they are competing against for 2nd place in the division.
Pittsburgh enters tonights matchup beating the Flames on Monday 4-3 in OT. The Penguins look to make in 3-in-a-row against a struggling Flyers team.
Flyers Lineup (Projected 3/6)
Giroux – Couturier – Konecny
Lindblom – Patrick – Voracek
Weal – Filppula – Simmonds
Lehtera – Laughton – Raffl
Provorov – Gostisbehere
Hagg – MacDonald
Manning – Gudas
Starter – Mrazek
Backup – Lyon
22 – Weise
24 – Read
29 – Oduya
With a forecast calling for snow, could we have Snow-McGeddon on our hands?
The weather doesn’t look good for tonights game. Especially during the travel time to the game for the patrons. With that being said, be prepared to hook on those snow-shoes and walk to the game because with the season in its final month, it will be hard to find a make-up spot.
Looking at both teams schedules, the only available date is Apr 8, the day after the Flyers season is supposed to end. The reason for that is because there is no date from March 8 to April 7 that either team could play without one team playing 3 nights in a row. Which, according to a league source, will not happen.
Therefore, with so much riding on this game, mainly because the 2 teams are fighting for the same playoff spot and the game could have a 4-point swing, this game has to be played tomorrow night. Why? Well, if the point spread is more than 2 points at the end of the year, the game would be pointless. Therefore, to get the most out of the game for either team, the game has to be played tomorrow night.
According to a league source, the game’s decision will be made by 3pm today.
Where Did The Scoring Go?
One thing the Flyers haven’t had to worry about in February was goal scoring. The Flyers were getting scoring from all 4 of their lines. However, in three out of their four last games, the Flyers have failed to score more than 1 goal.
So, what happened to the scoring?
Well, it is multiple things. But, the one thing that stands out is the Flyers need help in the middle six. The Flyers top line can only do so much on a nightly basis when they are going up against a teams best defensive unit. Therefore, that is where the middle six comes into play.
However, they have gone silent and the Flyers have been struggling because of it.
If the Flyers want to go anyway in the playoffs, they have to find a solution to their secondary scoring issues. But, help may be on its way as Wayne Simmonds practiced for the second time with the Flyers since his injury. Simmonds return will expand the top 6 into more of a top 9 with the moves that will have to be made when he re-enters the lineup and takes back his 2nd line spot.
Huge Playoff Implications
When the Penguins went on a 3-game losing skid, the Flyers took advantage and opened up a 4 point lead. However, with the Flyers now on a 3-game skid, the Penguins have took advantage and closed that gap and now lead by 1.
This has been a back and forth battle for the Flyers and Penguins for the last month. However, now with points at a premium, head-to-head matchups have bigger point values attached to them. Especially for the team ahead in the standings. This case the Penguins.
If the Penguins win, they extend their lead to 3 points. But, the Flyers still have to play one more game than the Penguins so that lead could actually be 1.
But, if the Flyers win, they would be 1 point ahead with a game in hand. Potentially having a 3 point lead. In essence, a 4-point swing.
No matter who wins tonight, the gap is not something either team couldn’t close over the final part of the season. However, the real 4-point swing will come when the teams meet in Pittsburgh on March 25th. That game will be extremely important for playoff standings coming into the last 5-game stretch of the season.
Game 67 : Flyers vs Penguins, Philadelphia PA, NBC Sports 8:00pm
Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports