The Philadelphia Flyers had been on a roll this season in an attempt to get themselves back to the Stanley Cup Finals. charging forward all season ling and a front runnr to win the President’s Trophy as the team with the most points of the season now seems to be in danger. Be careful what you wish for as not very many teams as of late go on to be Stanley Cup Champs by having the best overall record.
Chris Pronger, a talented and nasty defenceman who happens to be one of those players that if you have him on your team you probably love him, but when he plays against you, he’s a guy you can’t stand. We won’t get to witness any of his snarl tonight as he’s out three to four weeks with a hand injuy that will require surgery. The timing of th injury isn’t exactly great as the Flyers have been sluggish of late to say the least. The Flyers have lost five of seven and are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games as they stay ahead of the surging Washington Capitals.
Jeff Carter leads the Flyers in goals with 30, while the young and very skilled Claude Giroux leads the team in points with 64. Pronger and Giroux reportedly had a bit of a te-ta-te last week with Pronger laying down the law for the young Giroux. General Manager Paul Holmgren thought that the “heated” discussion was good for the team. The Flyers have 10 players who have scored goals of at least 10 or more, and potentially eight of those players could have 20 or more.
The Flyers are loaded wth offence and when their game is on, they charge at you and force the play with their grit combined with their skill. They also seemed to have solved their goaltending issues with Sergei Bobrovski emerging as the number one guy this season. Bob as he’ called has 25 wins in 44 starts. Veteran Brian Boucher has been a very capable backup and has 16 wins of his own in 28 starts.
The Florida Panthers are coming off a very emotionally charged overtime victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night. Jason Garrison back handed the winning goal past Tampa’s Mike Smith with just 16 seconds left in the extra frame sending the cross state rivals home with a bitter loss. In that game newcomers RyanCarter and Niclas Bergfors scored their first goals as Florida Panthers.
Tonight a couple more newcomers will potentially be in the lineup as Patrick Rissmiller and Mike Duco have been recalled from Rochester and could play tonight. David Booth remains the team leader in goals with 21 and will most likley be energized to play in this one as he faces his nemisis Mike Richards. While the theatrics of that hit are most likely over, I would imagine the bad blood still exists.
The Panther power play has been rather non-existent lately as they have for most of the season, but if they get any chances at all tongiht they need to capitaize on them. Also, with all the scoring that Philly can throw the Panthers way, staying out of the penalty box is going to be a good idea.
Should be a good crowd tonight as the Flyers are always a good draw. The Rat Trick crew will be here tonight. In full force I believe!
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