We’re roughly two-thirds of the way through the NHL regular season, and the physicality of play is starting to take a toll on many players. On Monday, the Detroit Red Wings activated goaltender Jimmy Howard. He had been ailing the past week from a minor left knee issue that could weigh in the favor of the Philadelphia Flyers should Howard see some time tonight. However, the absence of Howard isn’t the only injury factor that could benefit Philly tonight.
With Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg out of tonight’s contest, a gigantic weight of pressure will be lifted from the struggling Philadelphia defense. So not only are the odds of Philadelphia scoring tonight increased should Howard play, but the chances of Detroit scoring are diminished. Detroit isn’t the only team suffering from injuries, though.
Zac Rinaldo has been out since Jan. 9 due to a sprain on his left leg. Though his status is being upgraded, perhaps it’s best that the scrappy forward isn’t on the ice for the Flyers tonight. The fan favorite leads the team in penalty minutes despite his nine-game absence with 101, but that’s a stat Philadelphia could seriously do without right now.
For the most part of the season, the Flyers have done a tremendous job on the penalty kill, but recently they can’t seem to put it together giving up eight power-play goals in their last nine games. Since penalties have been hurting them as of late, they’ll only benefit from their most penalty-prone player being out of tonight’s contest. Well, they should at least.
The pieces are set for the Flyers to have success tonight and get a win at home before heading out on a three-game, six-day west coast road trip. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a good feeling about tonight’s game.