NHL Preview: Philadelphia Flyers at Winnipeg Jets
Flyers (5-7-1) at Jets (5-5-1) 8 p.m., CSN
MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
If history tells us anything, this game should see a lot of goals.
The last three games these two teams played each other, the final scores were as followed: 6-4, 5-4, 9-8. And yes, I did attend that 9-8 game in Philadelphia. It was nuts.
After a less than ideal start to their six-game road trip, the Philadelphia Flyers must turn around and face the Winnipeg Jets. On Monday night, Philadelphia was beaten to a pulp, compliments of former Flyers James van Riemsdyk and the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was the Flyers fourth-straight road loss, converting just one of 18 power play opportunities during the slump.
Meanwhile, the Jets are a very talented and dangerous team on the rise, and have given the Flyers fits, winning 10 of 12 meetings. The Flyers did however, manage to win the last battle between the two by a score of 5-4, totaling a whopping 55 shots.
While Winnipeg has some very talented, young offensive playmakers, their defensive players have been carrying the load. The Jets lead the entire league in points scored by defensemen with 34. They are led by Tobias Enstrom who has 13 points by himself. Enstrom is an emerging stud blue-liner, with an offensive touch, something the Flyers are in desperate need of at the moment.
Not only has inconsistency bit the Flyers, but it appears the flu bug has now too. Center Sean Couturier did not play Monday night due to it and was just recently sent home by the team. Philadelphia has recalled forward Harry Zolnierczyk from the Adirondack Phantoms in Couturier’s place.
Between the Pipes
Despite being pulled from last night’s game, it’ll once again be Ilya Bryzgalov in the cage for Philadelphia. There’s certainly no place like home, as Bryz is outstanding at the Wells Fargo Center. But on the road? Not so much, sporting a record of 1-5-0 with a GAA of 3.16. He’ll look to change that on Tuesday night.
The Jets starting goaltender is usually the sporadic Ondrej Pavelec. However, he sat out Saturday’s game due to the flu (something must be going around). He is able to suit up tonight, but the team has yet to decide whether it will be Pavelec or Al Montoya to get the call.
Keys to Win
Help your goalie: On Monday night, Bryzgalov may have allowed four goals, but he deserves a break. The Flyers turned the puck over like crazy, played lazy defense (see van Riemsdyk’s goal on Luke Schenn) and were simply outworked. Bryzgalov is more than capable of carrying the load, but that doesn’t mean he should.
Keep shooting: In a losing effort, the Flyers took 46 shots on goal against the Leafs. Despite only scoring twice, don’t become discouraged. Keep peppering opposing goalies with shots and look for rebounds.
Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday night after missing five games.
Captain Claude Giroux has been held pointless in four of the team’s last six contests.
Philadelphia is 1-6 on the road this season.
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