Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images
The Nashville Predators after another improbable come-from-behind win against the Minnesota Wild take their rough and tumble play to Philly. The Flyers boast heavy duty offensive weapons and Giroux and Hartnell represented the All-Stars well.
The Flyers lost in overtime against the Winnepeg Jets on January 31st. Bryzgalov took the overtime loss so the netminder duties may be given off to Bobrovsky for tonight’s match-up.
Can the Predators continue to do the impossible? Can the Flyers keep ramping up their play since the Winter Classic?
Gametime is 6:00 Central.
This Year’s Series: 1-0-0 Home (1-0-0) Away (0-0-0)
Looking at the Flyers: The Flyers have gone a respectable 7-3-2 since the Winter Classic and their key contributors have been a huge factor…namely one Scott Hartnell.
Hartnell is a heart and soul player who the Predators had once upon a time and was moved as part of Leipold’s fire sale a few years back. Since then, Hartnell has racked up impressive numbers while showing the true grit and determination of his play.
With another winger like Simmonds to support the Flyers in a similar role, the Flyers are a terror in front of the crease with multiple personnel who can bat home garbage goals and re-directs.
Looking at the Predators: The Predators looked awful for 50 minutes out of the 60 minute contest against the Minnesota Wild…then something happened. A goal was video-confirmed for Brandon Yip’s first as a Predator and then the team turned things around.
These comebacks are becoming not just nerve-racking but a standard for the Predators this season. Albeit if Nashville’s play wasn’t so sloppy and rusty coming off the All-Star break, the Predators wouldn’t have needed to pull off a miraculous comeback.
For the Flyers to win: Go with Bobrovsky. Sergei bested Nashville last season and Bryzgalov was figured out by Nashville in mid-January. Bobrovsky has been the better goaltender this season by far. Ilya just hasn’t quite lived up to his enormous contract and the Flyers are lucky to have a capable backstop in Bobrovsky.
The Flyers need to get the Broad Street crowd into this game. Playing with an edge from Briere, Hartnell and Simmonds could force Nashville to retaliate and take the bonehead penalty. Keeping Nashville off it’s game and cutting down time and space is key for the Flyers to grab two points.
For the Predators to win: The Predators got lucky in Minnesota with the Wild falling asleep at the wheel in the third period. The Philadelphia Flyers will not give them that kind of concession. Nashville has to get under the skin of the Flyers and force the turnovers and penalties. The PP for Nashville is still one of the league’s best but was only tested once in the Wild game.
Nashville has to limit the chances for snipers like Giroux and Briere from lighting up Pekka Rinne. The defensive core has to step up and not leave Rinne out to dry like they did so many tiimes against the Wild. Rinne can steal points and goals away from other teams, but without a solid defensive effort, Rinne can only bail out the Predators so many times.
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Stay HardCore, friends