After a dismal display throughout their four-game run in Canada, the Flyers play host to a Blackhawks team who have 15 more wins than them. A Blackhawks team ready for postseason hockey and a blackhawks team which will see Kimmo Timonen return to the Wells Fargo Centre under a different flag.
The night is going to be one of mixed emotions, but where those emotions run extremely high. Timonen’s return will make his first appearance at the stadium in seven years where he hasn’t been playing for the Flyers. Whilst the recovering “quiet leader” has gone pointless in his opening games for the Blackhawks, he has benefitted from the consistency of reliable partner Brent Seabrook.
There aren’t many signs pointing towards a Flyers win tonight however. Giroux is now 10 consecutive games without a goal. The Flyers’ captain has looked much better since Jakub Voracek and Michael Raffl rejoined him on the top line and they dominated against Edmonton, combining for three goals and three assists. It’s probable that the top line is going to remain unchanged until the season ends but facts are facts. The Flyers have struggled to score, leaving a lot of work to the goalie..an area which has its own soap opera. With Berube’s future becoming ever more cloudy, there is a lot of rumours flying around which can’t be good for morale.
But with the playoffs almost all but out of reach, it means that Voracek who has 73 goals can focus on trying to achieve what no Flyer has done before. To win the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top scorer. In the past he’s said that he’s more focused on the teams goals but with those goals eliminated, will the team help him achieve his, and will that goal become more and more achievable after tonight? Voracek is only two away from his career best and this is his third consecutive year where he would have scored 20 or more goals..can he find another tonight?
One promising sign is that the Blackhawks will be without star winger Patrick Kane who has a fractured clavicle. But is that really going to stop the Blackhawks from playing some of the best hockey in the league? There’s only one way to find out..