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Flyers vs Wild - 1/17/2012


Guest Digityman
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PREVIEW 7:00 AM EST

After playing 20 of their last 29 games on the road, the Philadelphia Flyers (26-13-4) now begin a stretch that will the club play nine of the next twelve games -- including three of the next four leading into next week's All-Star break -- at the Wells Fargo Center. Philly has not taken advantage of home ice (10-6-2) often enough this season, so now is the time to correct that issue.

First up on the docket: the Minnesota Wild (22-16-7). Tonight's game starts at 7 PM EST and will be broadcast locally on CSN Philly.

This is the lone meeting between the teams this season. Last season, the Flyers traveled to Minnesota and dismantled the Wild by a 6-1 score. The Flyers held the Wild to a mere 16 shots while six different Philly players lit the lamp, including Jody Shelley.

The Wild got off to a tremendous start this season but having been in a freefall for the last month. On Dec. 14, Minnesota was leading the Western Conference. Since then, they've gone just 2-9-4. To further the adversity, the team just learned it will be without its best all-around player and team leader, Mikko Koivu, after he suffered a separated shoulder on Saturday. He'll be out at least a month.

The Flyers enter this game coming off a 4-2 loss in Nashville. The team battled hard but spent too much time chasing the game, and were never able to catch up despite twice trimming two-goal deficits back to a single goal. Sean Couturier scored for the fourth straight game while Wayne Simmonds swept in a puck near the net.

It appears as if Ilya Bryzgalov will get the start in goal for the Flyers tonight. He was not as good as Nashville's Pekka Rinne in Saturday's game but had little chance on any of the three goals he yielded -- a pair of heavy screens and a nasty deflection that would have been extremely tough for any goalie to stop.

At practice yesterday, the Flyers used the same lines that started the game in Nashville. It is likely that Couturier, who moved up to the second line during the game, will see some double-shifting duty again. James van Riemsdyk (concussion) was at the SkateZone yesterday but left early.

The Wild have also been been dealing with concussions of late: Guillaume Latendresse, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Jarrod Palmer all remain out of the lineup. Meanwhile, Niklas Backstrom (flu) is likely to play tonight despite still being a little bit under the weather.

PROJECTED LINEUPS (subject to change)

FLYERS

Hartnell - Giroux - Jagr

Talbot - Briere - Voracek

Read - Schenn - Simmonds

Zolnierczyk - Couturier - Rinaldo

Timonen - Coburn

Carle - Bourdon

Gustafsson - Meszaros

Bryzgalov

[bobrovsky]

WILD

Heatley - Cullen - Johnson

Clutterbuck - Peters - McIntyre

Powe - Brodziak - Setoguchi

Wellman - McMillan - Staubitz

Schultz - Zidlicky

Falk - Spurgeon

Lundin - Stoner

Backstrom

[Harding]

Meltzer

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If Bryz had lost this game, he does really suck. The Wild enter this game losing like 9 straight on the road and the 2nd lowest scoring team in the league. This comes down to the excuse that Bob played against weaker teams, this can be said for Bryz last night. Let's see what he does against top teams like the Preds before we get happy with his performance.

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What I most noticed was that the Flyers generally had a hard time getting and keeping the puck in on the power play... with the exception of Jagr. When he was lugging the puck in either he was just so good that he got through the D choking the line, or they just backed off of him like they did no other Flyer.

The old man continues to impress, even if he did shoot about 4 pucks wide of the net.

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Lilja not being there was great. I didn't hear Gustavson's named called out other than when Clutterbuck megged him. That to me is a good thing meaning he did what he should be doing out there. MAB also got some powerplay time; which tells me Lavy is liking what he sees.

I would like to see an easy W tomorrow (not like the last 2 times we played the Islanders) and demolish the Bruins on Sunday. Maybe that will be enough to get Bryzgalov in the zone again and gel this defense.

If Coburn can up his game on the regular like lastnight I will feel much better about this defense going into the trade deadline.

After reading some of the other posters insight on Luke Schenn, I am now in the "please do not overreact Homer and trade JvR for that guy" camp.

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Oh and how good would this guy look with Schenn and Simmonds...

Probably saw him play 20 times in junior. We used to love to hate him every single game. He played every game just like that video. And he has the best name in hockey. It sounds like a nickname from the 40s.

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The Majors are in our division and the 'Shwa is in our conference so we see them plenty enough. Clutterbuck is definately a love/hate player. But I always thought his tenacity would serve him well in the NHL.

Junior is great. For the most part you don't get many guys taking the night off. I can go to a game, have a few beers, and be home in 3 hours and spend less than 40 bucks. Plus every seat is good.

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