Tag Archives: Philadelphia

March 30 – Day 167 – Another playoff preview

With a 4-1 victory in yesterday’s Game of the Day, Minnesota completed the season sweep of Chicago, revenge for four-straight losses in the Western Semifinals almost a year ago.

Second Star of the Game Jarret Stoll scored the Wild‘s first goal after only 2:37 of play, assisted by Mike Reilly (his sixth helper of the season) and Jordan Schroeder, but Chicago leveled with a power play goal at the 11:55 mark, courtesy of Marian Hossa, who was assisted by Jonathan Toews (his 27th helper of the season) and Michal Rozsival.  The one-all score held not only into the first intermission, but also the second.

Tonight’s game-winner was a First Star Jared Spurgeon backhander at the 4:07 mark of the third, assisted by Mikko Koivu (his 38th helper of the season) and Jason Pominville.  Third Star Erik Haula scored the first of the two insurance goals at the 11:03 mark, assisted by Nino Niederreiter (his 23rd helper of the season) and Matt Dumba.  Niederreiter’s night was not done though, as he scored on an empty net with 1:19 remaining in the game after assists from Mikael Granlund (his 31st helper of the season) and Haula.

Devan Dubnyk earns the win after saving 18 of 19 shots faced (94.7%), while Scott Darling takes the loss, saving only 14 of 17 (82.4%).

The second straight home victory sets the DtFR Game of the Day series at 76-43-18, favoring that side by 36 points over the opposing roadies.

It’s a light Wednesday night in the NHL, as only three games are taking place.  The action starts at 7:30 p.m. eastern when Ottawa visits Winnipeg (TVAS/SN), followed half an hour later by Washington at Philadelphia (NBCSN/SN360).  Finally, at 10 p.m. eastern, this evening’s nightcap, Calgary at Anaheim (SN) gets underway.

Two of the games this evening are between division rivals (Washington at Philadelphia and Calgary at Anaheim), but only Washington at Philadelphia is between playoff qualifiers.  Additionally, the CalgaryAnaheim game is a rematch of one of last season’s Western Conference Semifinals.

While the FlamesDucks game might be fun on an emotional level, the CapitalsFlyers game is important, as these two are headed towards meeting each other in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Washington Capitals LogoPhiladelphia Flyers Logo

Tonight’s game will be Washington‘s 16th in the Game of the Day series, where they own a 10-4-1 record.  Last time they were featured, they lost 4-3 in overtime in Los Angeles on March 9.  Philadelphia has been featured much more recently, as we focused on their 4-2 victory in Colorado last Thursday, which set their series record at 5-2-0.

The 54-16-5 Washington Capitals are living large, already clinching the Metropolitan Division, Eastern Conference, and regular season championship, aka the President’s Trophy.  As you’d expect, they play probably the best hockey in the league, as they’ve given up the fewest goals and scored the second most.

Led by Karl Alzner’s 186 blocks, Washington has allowed only 2142 shots to reach 46-9-4 Braden Holtby and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 92.2% for 175 goals against, the fewest in the NHL.  Along with that, they’ve successfully killed 84.81% of their penalties for only 36 power play goals against, the fourth best rate in the league.

Offensively, the Capitals focus on quality over quantity, as even with Alex Ovechkin’s team-leading 364 shots, they’ve only fired the puck 2280 times, but a whopping 10.2% have found the back of the net for 236 goals (led by Ovechkin’s 43 tallies), the second most in the league.  The Caps‘ power play has been even better, as they’re successful on 22.75% of their attempts, good for 53 extra man goals (led by Ovechkin’s 17 power play tallies), the second best rate in the NHL.

Washington last played to a 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets on Monday.  What makes the Capitals worth watching this evening (other than how well they play the game) is how they approach this game.  Although Philadelphia could still advance to the first wildcard spot, this could very well be the Capitals‘ first playoff opponent, so they will be using this game almost as a scouting event for a couple weeks from now.

The 37-25-13 Philadelphia Flyers are currently the fifth best team in the Metropolitan Division and eighth best in the Eastern Conference, qualifying them for the second wildcard spot.  To get there, they’ve played the 14th best defense in the league, paired with the 11th worst offense.

Even with Nick Schultz’ 159 blocks, Philadelphia has allowed 2320 shots to reach 20-17-9 Steve Mason and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 92.1% for 199 goals against, the 14th fewest in the NHL.  Part of that problem has been a poor penalty kill, which has neutralized only 80.82% of their infractions, allowing 47 power play goals in the process, the 12th worst rate in the league.

Led by Claude Giroux’ 222 shots, the Flyers have fired the puck 2303 times, with 8.4% finding the back of the net for 196 goals (led by Wayne Simmonds’ 26 tallies), the 11th fewest in the league.  Once again, part of that problem is due to poor special teams play, as Philly has connected on only 17.97 power play opportunities for 46 extra man goals (led by Simmonds’ 11 power play tallies), the 13th worst rate in the NHL.

Philadelphia last played Monday to a 3-2 overtime home victory over the Jets.  With a win tonight, the Flyers would pull within two points of the dormant Islanders, but New York will have a game in hand.  Of course, that is only an added benefit of pulling away from Detroit by two points while still having a game in hand over them.

Washington has already won the season series with their 2-0-1 record against Philly.  The last time these squads met was February 7, a 3-2 victory in Washington, but that was of course against a Flyers team under much different circumstances.  Washington will be using this game to get a better understanding of the Flyers, while Philly desperately wants to win to try to get away from the Capitals during the playoffs.

Some players to watch include Philadelphia‘s Giroux (64 points, including 42 assists, with 20 coming on the power play and 222 shots [all lead the team]), Radko Gudas (280 hits [leads the team]), Schultz (159 blocks [leads the team]) and Simmonds (26 goals, including 11 on the power play [both lead the team]) & Washington‘s Nicklas Backstrom (47 assists [tied for sixth most in the league]), Holtby (46 wins [leads the league], 2.19 GAA [fifth best in the league] and .923 save percentage [tied for sixth best in the league]), Evgeny Kuznetsov (53 assists [fourth most in the league], +28 [fourth best in the league] and 73 points [tied for fifth most in the league]) and Ovechkin (43 goals [leads the league]).

This is a tough game to predict the outcome of.  On the one hand, since Washington has clinched, they have no need to strain themselves for victories and will be content to go the rest of the regular season without any injuries and well rested.  However, they can also play “Playoff Hockey God” if they’d like and try to influence who they’d meet in the first round: Flyers, Islanders or Red Wings.  The answer to that question could influence how they play this game.  On the other end, we have a Philadelphia team not only intent on qualifying for the playoffs, but also getting as far away from Washington as possible during the playoffs, and the best way to do that is to be the first wildcard team, sending them to the Atlantic Division to fight towards the conference finals.  To do that, they need a win tonight over the same competition they want to avoid.  Based on talent alone, Washington should win this.

March 24 – Day 161 – All the wildcards

The New York Rangers made easy work of Boston in yesterday’s Game of the Day, beating them 5-2.

Two unanswered power play goals in the first period set the tone for the Rangers.  The first found the back of the net at the 8:37 mark, scored on a Mats Zuccarello wrister, assisted by Third Star of the Game Keith Yandle and First Star Derek Stepan.  3:02 later, Stepan scored his own goal after assists from Yandle (his 37th helper of the season) and Second Star Henrik Lundqvist.  The Blueshirts‘ two goal shutout lead held into the intermission.

5:26 after resuming play, Derick Brassard scored the eventual game-winner (his 26th tally of the season), assisted by Kevin Klein and Jesper Fast.  Boston finally scored 26 seconds before the midway point of both the period and the game courtesy of a Lee Stempniak wrister, assisted by Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron (his 34th helper of the season).  The 3-1 Rangers lead held into the second intermission.

New York took control of the scoring again 6:32 after returning to the ice, as J.T. Miller’s wrister crossed the goal line after assists from Stepan and Zuccarello (his 32nd helper of the season).  Frank Vatrano scored 5:34 later for the Bruins on a snap shot, assisted by Loui Eriksson (his 28th helper of the season) and Zdeno Chara.  The final goal of the game was scored with 2:53 remaining, scored by Rick Nash on an empty net.

Lundqvist earns the win after saving 39 of 41 shots faced (95.1%), while Jonas Gustavsson takes the loss, saving 13 of 15 (86.7%).  He replaced Tuukka Rask after the first intermission, as Rask saved only six of eight shots faced (75%).

The third straight home win sets the DtFR Game of the Day series at 73-41-17, favoring the home squads by 35 points over the roadies.

Yesterday’s reprieve sets us up for an exciting Thursday schedule.  Three games drop the puck at 7 p.m. eastern (Florida at Boston [TVAS], New Jersey at Pittsburgh and Carolina at Columbus), followed half an hour later by two more (Anaheim at Toronto and Montréal at Detroit [NHLN/RDS]).  Another trio gets started at 8 p.m. eastern (Vancouver at Nashville [SN360], Calgary at Minnesota and Los Angeles at Winnipeg), with Philadelphia at Colorado trailing an hour later.  Dallas at Arizona gets its start at 10 p.m. eastern, and Edmonton at San Jose, this evening’s nightcap, follows 30 minutes later.

Five of the 11 games taking place tonight are division rivalries (Florida at Boston, New Jersey at Pittsburgh, Carolina at Columbus, Montréal at Detroit and Edmonton at San Jose), but only Florida at Boston is between teams currently qualifying for the playoffs.

You might think I’d choose the PanthersBruins game, but since that one doesn’t have immediate impact on the standings, I’m more interested in Philadelphia at Colorado.

Philadelphia Flyers LogoUnknown-1

 

In addition to both appearing in the Game of the Day series six times before tonight’s game, both Philadelphia and Colorado own 4-2-0 records in those games.  Philadelphia was last featured Saturday in their 4-1 home loss to the rival Penguins, and Colorado last played in the series March 1, a 6-3 loss in Minnesota.

The 35-24-13 Philadelphia Flyers currently occupy fifth in the Metropolitan Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference, good enough for the second wildcard spot.  To get into that position, they’ve played the 15th best defense, but it’s been backed by the 10th worst offense.  A more in-depth breakdown of Philly‘s game can be found within Saturday’s article.

The Flyers last played to a 3-2 shootout loss in Columbus on Tuesday.  A win tonight for the Flyers is very important, as the Red Wings are also in action this evening, and playing Montréal to boot – a much weaker opponent than the Avalanche.  An added bonus to winning is pulling within two points of the idle Islanders for the first wildcard spot.

The  38-31-4 Colorado Avalanche are currently sixth in the Central Division and ninth in the Western Conference, making them the first team left out of the playoff picture.  Offense has led the way, as they rank 14th best in scoring, but 11th worst in defense.

The injured Nathan MacKinnon’s 245 shots have led the Avalanche to firing the puck only 2108 times, but 9.2% have found the back of the net for 198 goals (led by Matt Duchene’s 29 tallies), the 14th most in the league.  They step up the pressure on the power play, as Colorado‘s 19.41% success rate, good for 46 power play goals (led by Jarome Iginla’s dozen extra man tallies), ranks 11th best in the NHL.

Even with Francois Beauchemin’s 236 blocks, the Avs have allowed a whopping 2317 shots to reach 26-18-3 Semyon Varlamov and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 91.8% for 204 goals against, the 11th most in the league.  Although the defense as a whole hasn’t been that strong, Colorado definitely clamps down on the penalty kill, neutralizing 82.1% of their penalties for 41 power play goals against, the ninth best rate in the league.  Further improving on that solid rate, the Avalanche have also scored seven shorthanded goals, two more than the league average.

The Avalanche are currently riding a three game winning streak, with their most recent being Sunday’s 3-2 win in Edmonton.  Just like Philadelphia, Colorado‘s main playoff competition, the Minnesota Wild, is playing this evening against a weaker opponent, the Calgary Flames.  As the Wild have only a one point lead over the Avs, a Colorado win paired with anything less than a Wild win would propel Colorado into the second wildcard.

Colorado has already made their yearly visit to Philadelphia, and they certainly enjoyed their time in the City of Brotherly Love, winning on a four-goal shutout on November 10.

Some players to keep an eye on include Colorado‘s Duchene (56 points, 29 of which are goals, with 21 at even strength [all lead the team]) and Philadelphia‘s Michal Neuvirth (.925 save percentage [fifth best in the league] and 2.28 GAA [10th best in the league]).

Colorado seems to be the better team, both statistically and given their three game winning streak.  Add that in with the fact that they are hosting this evening’s contest, it should be an Avalanche winner.

March 19 – Day 156 – Battle of Pennsylvania

Anaheim heard that the Big Bad Bruins were coming to the Pond and didn’t really seem to be too impressed, beating them with a four-goal shutout.

Within 4:07 of play, Anaheim had a two goal lead.  Jamie McGinn scored the first and eventual game winner at the 2:51 mark, assisted by Corey Perry (his 23rd helper of the season) and Ryan Getzlaf.  1:16 later, Ryan Kesler’s wrister found the back of the net, assisted by Andrew Cogliano and Third Star Jakob Silfverberg.  However, after those two quick scores, neither team was able to find any other opportunities, giving the Ducks the 2-0 lead going into not only the first intermission, but also the second.

It must be a thing about odd-numbered periods for the Ducks, as only 58 seconds into the final frame Hampus Lindholm’s slap shot found the back of the net after an assist from Getzlaf (his 44th helper of the season).  The final goal of the night belongs to Rickard Rakell, as David Perron (his 24th helper of the season) and Lindholm assisted him to his slap shot with 5:32 remaining in regulation to ensure the the Bruins had no hope for a comeback.

First Star Frederik Andersen earns the shutout victory after saving all 38 shots faced, while Jonas Gustavsson takes the loss, saving 22 of 26 (84.6%).

The DtFR Game of the Day series now stands at 70-40-16, favoring the home sides by 32 points over the roadies.

It’s a busy Saturday in the greatest hockey league in the world, with 11 games being played before the day ends.  The day opens with Pittsburgh visiting Philadelphia at 1 p.m. eastern, followed an hour later by Carolina at Minnesota.  The final matinee occurs at 4 p.m. eastern between the New York Rangers and San Jose.  The usual starting time of 7 p.m.  brings with it four puck drops (Buffalo at Toronto [CBC/City], Montréal at Ottawa [TVAS/SN], Detroit at Florida [NHLN] and New Jersey at Columbus), with the New York Islanders visiting Dallas an hour later.  Two more games drop the puck at 10 p.m. eastern (St. Louis at Vancouver [CBC/SN] and Tampa Bay at Arizona), and Boston at Los Angeles, this evening’s nightcap, goes underway 30 minutes later.

Almost half of today’s games are divisional rivalries (Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, Buffalo at Toronto, Montréal at Ottawa, Detroit at Florida and New Jersey at Columbus), and another set of four are between teams currently qualifying for the playoffs (New York at San Jose, Detroit at Florida, New York at Dallas and Boston at Los Angeles).

I know we’ve already watched them twice this week, but the Battle of Pennsylvania is beyond the most important game of the day, as it is not only a rivalry, but also another opportunity for the Flyers to get back into the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Penguins LogoPhiladelphia Flyers Logo

 

This will be Pittsburgh‘s 14th appearance in the Game of the Day series, and they own a 5-7-1 record in such games.  Their most recent appearance was Sunday, when the Pens visited Madison Square Garden and won 5-3.  Philly has been featured five times before today’s games, with their most recent being Wednesday’s 3-2 victory in Chicago to set their series record at 4-1-0.

The 38-24-8 Pittsburgh Penguins currently occupy fourth place in the Metropolitan Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference, good enough for the first wildcard spot.  To get to that position, they’ve played the seventh best defense, paired with the 11th best offense.  A more in-depth analysis of their game can be found within Sunday’s post.

Pittsburgh comes into today’s game riding a two game win streak, with their most recent being their 4-2 win over the Hurricanes on Thursday.  A win today paired with an Islanders loss propels the Pens into the third division spot, but a loss could leave them with only one point of wiggle room between them and the second wildcard.

The 34-23-12 Philadelphia Flyers are currently the fifth team in the Metropolitan Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference, making them the first team outside the playoffs.  To get to that position, they’ve played the 13th best defense, but its been paired with the 10th worst offense.

Even with Nick Schultz’ 142 blocks, the Flyers have allowed 2130 shots to reach 17-15-8 Steve Mason and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 91.9% for 185 goals against, the 13th fewest in the league.  The success has not continued to the penalty kill, as Philly has only neutralized 80.09% of their infractions for 46 power play goals against, the ninth worst rate in the NHL.

Led by Claude Giroux’ 196 shots, Philadelphia has fired the puck a whopping 2115 times, with 8.5% finding the back of the net for 181 goals (led by Wayne Simmonds’ 25 tallies), the 10th fewest in the league.  More effective has been the power play, where the Flyers are successful on 18.72% attempts for 44 extra man goals (led by Simmonds’ 11 power play tallies), the 15th best rate in the league.

Philadelphia is also riding a winning streak, although it is only two games, with their most recent being their 3-2 victory in Chicago on Wednesday.  A win tonight paired with a Detroit loss would propel the Flyers back into the second wildcard position.

These squads have met only once so far this season, with Pittsburgh hosting the Flyers to a 4-3 victory on January 21.

Some players to keep an eye on include Philadelphia‘s Michal Neuvirth (.925 save percentage [fifth best in the league] and 2.28 GAA [10th best in the league]) & Pittsburgh‘s Sidney Crosby (72 points [fifth in the league] and 31 goals [ninth in the league]), Marc-Andre Fleury (five shutouts [tied for second most in the league] and 30 wins [tied for sixth most in the league]), Chris Kunitz (+28 [fourth in the league]) and Olli Maatta (+24 [tied for seventh in the league]).

It is my opinion that Pittsburgh should win this game.  In addition to already earning a victory against the Flyers, they are simply the better team.

March 16 – Day 153 – Fly off to Chicago

In yesterday’s Game of the Day, Philadelphia used a quick two goals in the first seven minutes of play to propel them to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Red Wings.

The Flyers‘ first tally found the back of the net at the 5:41 mark, scored on a First Star of the Game Michael Raffl backhander after assists from Mark Streit (his 14th helper of the season) and Nick Schultz.  Only 1:14 later, a Wayne Simmonds wrister crossed the goal line, assisted by Brayden Schenn and Claude Giroux (his 40th helper of the season).  The two goal shutout lead held into the first intermission.

Detroit got one back only 2:14 into the second period when Andreas Athanasiou’s wrister squeezed past Steve Mason, assisted by Riley Sheahan and Gustav Nyquist (his 22nd helper of the season), but the Flyers returned their lead back to two scores with Raffl’s second of the night (12th tally of the season), assisted this time by Second Star Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde.  Scoring subsided until the 14:21 mark when Third Star Pavel Datsyuk earned Detroit‘s second goal, assisted by Tomas Tatar (his 22nd helper of the season), but once again Philadelphia had an answer, as Shayne Gostisbehere scored his 16th goal of the season, the eventual game winner, with 1:06 remaining in the frame to set the score at 4-2 going into the intermission.

The lone goal of the third was scored by Tatar with 3:46 remaining in regulation, assisted by Datsyuk (his 26th helper of the season) and Mike Green, but they were unable to level the game.  With that win, Philadelphia pulls within a point of Detroit for the second wildcard spot with two games in hand.

Mason earns the win after saving 34 of 37 shots faced (91.9%), while Petr Mrazek takes the loss, saving 42 of 46 (91.3%).

With the second straight home victory, the DtFR Game of the Day series now stands at 68-39-16, favoring the home squads by 30 points over the roadies.

Usually Wednesdays have only two or three games – not tonight! There’s six games taking place this evening, starting with Montréal at Buffalo at 7 p.m. eastern, followed an hour later by Philadelphia at Chicago on NBCSN.  St. Louis at Edmonton is the next game to drop the puck at 9:30 p.m. eastern, and two more follow half an hour later (Colorado at Vancouver and Winnipeg at Calgary).  Finally, the New York Rangers visit Anaheim at 10:30 p.m. eastern as this evening’s nightcap.

Montréal at Buffalo is the only divisional game being played this evening, and New York at Anaheim is the only contest between teams current playoff qualifiers.

I know we just watched them last night, but the game we’re most interested in here at the home office is the PhiladelphiaChicago matchup, as a surging Flyers teams catches the Blackhawks at arguably their worst play all season.  And it’s nationally broadcasted, which is always a plus!  To the Windy City we go!

Philadelphia Flyers LogoUnknown-2

 

 

 

 

Tonight’s game is Philadelphia‘s fifth in the Game of the Day series where, after last night’s contest, they have a 3-1-0 record.  Chicago has been featured a league-high 20 times before tonight’s game, and own a 10-8-2 record in such games.  Their most recent was their 5-2 loss in Dallas on March 11.

The 33-23-12 Philadelphia Flyers currently occupy fifth place in the Metropolitan Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference, making them the first team left out of the Eastern playoff bracket.  To get to that position, they’ve played the 15th best defense, but its been backed by the ninth worst offense.  A more in-depth analysis can be found within yesterday’s article.

Yesterday’s win is the main reason Philadelphia is being featured again today, as simply forcing overtime tonight propels the Flyers past the Red Wings for the second wildcard position.

The 41-23-6 Chicago Blackhawks currently occupy third place in the Central Division and fourth in the Western Conference.  They’ve certainly earned that position, as they’ve played the seventh best defense paired with the eighth best offense.  A more in-depth analysis of the Hawks‘ game can be found within Friday’s article.

Chicago is currently riding a three game losing skid, with their most recent being their five goal shutout loss on home ice to the Kings.  During this span, the Hawks have lost their conference lead and are now only five points removed from the first wildcard spot.

Chicago already visited Philadelphia this season, but it wasn’t exactly a fun affair, as the Flyers won with a three goal shutout.

Some players to keep an eye on in tonight’s game include Chicago‘s Patrick Kane (89 points [leads the league], 51 assists [second most in the league] and 38 goals [second most in the league]) and Philadelphia‘s Michal Neuvirth (.925 save percentage [fifth best in the league]) should he play.

It is hard to tell how this game will go.  Philadelphia is playing the best they’ve played all season, and the Hawks are riding one of their longest losing skids all season.  Overall, Chicago is certainly the better team, but I don’t know if tonight is the night they get headed back in the right direction.

March 15 – Day 152 – Qualification battle

The Panthers entered the third period with a two goal shutout lead, but the Islanders scored three unanswered goals to earn the win in yesterday’s Game of the Day.

The lone goal in the first period found the back of the net with 4:49 remaining in the frame, courtesy of a Third Star of the Game Aleksander Barkov wrister (his 22nd tally of the season), assisted by Alex Petrovic and Jonathan Huberdeau.

8:03 into the second, Florida struck again to double their lead.  This tally was a Nick Bjugstad wrsiter, assisted by Barkov and Huberdeau (his 34th helper of the season).  The Panthers held their 2-0 lead until 7:10 remained in regulation.

Second Star Kyle Okposo’s wrister finally got New York on the board, assisted by Frans Nielsen (his 26th helper of the season) and Travis Hamonic.  1:21 later, Josh Bailey leveled the contest with a wrister, assisted by John Tavares (his 29th helper of the season) and Casey Cizikas.  The Isles‘ game winner came courtesy of an unassisted First Star Cal Clutterbuck backhander, his 13th tally of the season.

Thomas Greiss earns the win after saving 23 of 25 shots faced (92%), while Roberto Luongo takes the loss, saving 25 of 28 (89.3%).

The first home win since Friday sets the DtFR Game of the Day series record at 67-39-16, favoring the home squads by 28 points over the roadies.

It’s an exciting Tuesday of games this evening!  The action gets started at 7 p.m. eastern as usual with two games (the New York Islanders at Pittsburgh and Carolina at Washington), with four games following half an hour later (Detroit at Philadelphia [NBCSN], Tampa Bay at Toronto, Florida at Montréal and Minnesota at Ottawa).  8:30 p.m. eastern brings with it the puck drop of the Los Angeles at Dallas contest, and this evening’s nightcap, Boston at San Jose, gets going at 10 p.m. eastern on NBCSN.

Half of tonight’s (New York at Pittsburgh, Carolina at Washington, Tampa Bay at Toronto and Florida at Montréal) and three are between teams currently qualifying for the playoffs (New York at Pittsburgh, Los Angeles at Dallas and Boston at San Jose).

While that list is usually helpful, the game I’m most interested in is Detroit at Philadelphia, as both of these squads are competing for the second wildcard.

UnknownPhiladelphia Flyers LogoTonight’s game will be Detroit‘s 10th in the Game of the Day series, where they own a 6-2-1 record.  Their most recent appearance was the last day of February, a 3-2 overtime victory in Dallas.  Philadelphia has been featured three times before tonight’s game, and own a 2-1-0 record in such games, with their most recent being their 3-1 loss in Carolina on February 23.

The 34-24-11 Detroit Red Wings currently sit in fourth place in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference, good enough for the second wildcard position.  To get to that position, they’ve played the 15th worst defense, paired with the eighth worst offense.

Led by Danny DeKeyser’s 92 blocks, the Wings have allowed 2037 shots to reach  26-14-6 Petr Mrazek and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 91.9% for 182 goals against, the 15th most in the league.  The defense slightly improves when down a man, as their 80.7% kill rate, which has allowed 44 power play goals so far this season, ranks only 11th worst in the NHL.

The offense has been even worse.  Led by Dylan Larkin’s 184 shots, Detroit has fired the puck 2055 times, but only 8.3% have found the back of the net for 173 goals (led by Larkin’s 20 tallies), the eighth fewest in the NHL.  The power play hasn’t done them any help either, as the 16.96% success rate, good for 38 power play goals (led by Pavel Datsyuk’s seven extra man tallies), ranks seventh worst in the league.

Detroit‘s last game was Sunday night, a one goal shutout loss at home to the Maple Leafs.  A win tonight has the potential to propel the Wings back into the first wildcard position should Pittsburgh fall to the Islanders but a loss allows Philadelphia to pull within at least a point of qualifying for the playoffs in Detroit‘s place.

The 32-23-12 Philadelphia Flyers currently occupy fifth place in the Metropolitan Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference, making them the first team outside the playoff cut.  They play the 14th best defense, but it is paired with the ninth worst offense.

Even with Nick Schultz’ team leading 136 blocks, the Flyers have allowed 2067 shots to reach 16-15-8 Steve Mason and co., of which they’ve collectively saved 91.9% for 180 goals against, the 14th fewest in the NHL.  Philadelphia‘s penalty kill has been even worse than the Wings‘, neutralizing only 79.65% of their penalties for 46 power play goals against, the ninth worst rate in the league.

Led by Claude Giroux’ 190 shots, Philly has fired the puck a solid 2040 times, but only 8.4% have found the back of the net for 174 goals (led by Wayne Simmonds’ 24 tallies), the ninth fewest in the league.  In comparison to the overall offense, the Flyers‘ power play has been decent, successful on 18.94% of attempts, good for 43 power play goals (led by Simmonds’ 11 extra man tallies), the 13th best success rate in the league.

Philadelphia‘s last showing was their 5-4 shootout loss in Florida on Saturday.  With a win tonight, they pull within at least a point of this evening’s opposition for the second wildcard position.

This is only the second meeting between these two squads this season, with the first game on January 17 ending 2-1 in favor of Philadelphia after a shootout.

Some players to keep an eye on include Detroit‘s Mrazek (2.17 GAA [tied for fifth best in the league] and .925 save percentage [tied for fifth best in the league]) and Philadelphia‘s Michal Neuvirth (.925 save percentage [tied for fifth best in the league]) should he play.

The Flyers should be able to win this evening’s game, as both teams field terrible offenses, but Detroit‘s defense is much more prone to allowing scores.  The Broad Street Bullies are still alive for the playoffs!

February 23 – Day 131 – Philadelphia Flyers at Carolina Canes: A lesson on alliteration

A whopping nine goals were scored in yesterday’s Game of the Day, and the San Jose Sharks scored two-thirds of them to beat the St. Louis Blues 6-3.

Second Star of the Game Tomas Hertl was responsible for the first tally of the evening, assisted by Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski (his 29th helper of the season) at the 4:44 mark.  5:34 later, Hertl scored again on Ryan Reaves’ five-minute major, assisted by Joonas Donskoi (his 17th helper of the season) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.  The score extended to 3-0 with a tip-in power play goal from First Star Logan Couture, who was assisted by Thornton (his 41st helper of the season) and Brent Burns.  The Blues got one back with 2:24 remaining in the period when David Backes scored a power play goal of his own, assisted by Jaden Schwartz and Third Star Vladimir Tarasenko, for his 15th tally of the season.  The 3-1 score held to the intermission.

11:25 after resuming play, Tarasenko scored his 29th tally of the season to get St. Louis within a goal, assisted by Kevin Shattenkirk and Jori Lehtera.  That energy was short-lived though, as Couture scored his second of the night only 20 seconds later, assisted by Melker Karlsson and Vlasic (his 27th helper of the season), which ended up being the game winner.  The 4-2 score held into the third period.

Thornton extended the differential back to three goals with an unassisted backhander at the 7:26 mark, his 13th tally of the season.  2:24 later, Jay Bouwmeester’s slap shot found the back of the net after being assisted by Tarasenko (his 25th helper of the season) and Lehtera.  The final goal of the game was en empty netter compliments of a Thornton backhander, assisted by Couture, to set the score at the 6-3 final.

Martin Jones earns the win after saving 25 of 28 (89.3%), while Jake Allen takes the loss after saving 15 of 17 (88.2%) in his first action since being on the Injured Reserve for nearly two months.  He replaced starter Brian Elliott (12 for 15, 80%) after 12:59 of play, who sustained a lower-body injury after the Sharks‘ third goal severe enough to send him to the dressing room.

After tonight’s game, the DtFR Game of the Day series now stands at 58-31-12, favoring the home squads by 31 points over the roadies.

It’s a busy Tuesday schedule in the greatest hockey league in the world, with nine games taking place.  The action gets started at the usual 7 p.m. eastern starting time with two contests (the New York Rangers at New Jersey and Philadelphia at Carolina), followed half an hour later by three more (Nashville at Toronto, Columbus at Detroit [NBCSN] and Arizona at Tampa Bay).  The next phase of games drop the puck at 8 p.m. eastern (the New York Islanders at Minnesota and Dallas at Winnipeg), with Ottawa at Edmonton trailing an hour behind.  Finally, Calgary at Los Angeles, this evening’s nightcap, drops the puck at 10:30 p.m. eastern.

Four of tonight’s games are divisional matchups (New York at New Jersey, Philadelphia at Carolina, Dallas at Winnipeg and Calgary at Los Angeles), and none feature two teams currently qualifying for the playoffs.

The game I’m most interested in actually features no teams currently qualifying for the playoffs, but two teams with postseason aspirations.

Philadelphia Flyers LogoCarolina Hurricanes Logo

 

This will be Philadelphia‘s third time featured in the Game of the Day series, and their first appearance since October 21, a 5-4 overtime win in Boston.  The Flyers also won their first appearance, so they own a perfect 2-0-0 record in our series.  Carolina has been featured three times before this evening, and own a 0-1-2 record in such games.  Their most recent was a 2-1 shootout loss in Montréal on February 7.

The 26-21-11 Philadelphia Flyers currently occupy seventh place in the Metropolitan Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference.  They’ve played the 15th-worst defense in the league and, to make matters worse, have scored the fifth-fewest goals.

Even with Nick Schultz’ team-leading 119 blocks, the Flyers have allowed a whopping 1844 shots to reach 13-15-7 Steve Mason and. co., of which a solid 92.1% have been saved for 158 goals against, 15th-most in the league.  Philadelphia has done well at even-strength, but rank seventh-worst in the league on the penalty kill, where they’ve neutralized only 78.82% of their penalties for 43 extra-man goals against.

The offense ranks even worse, although it isn’t for a lack of effort.  Led by Jakub Voracek’s 171 shots, the Flyers have fired the puck 1751 times, but only 8.1% have found the back of the net for 144 goals (led by Wayne Simmonds’ 21 tallies), fifth-fewest in the league.  In comparison, Philadelphia has been moderately successful on the power play, as they’ve connected on 18.23% of their extra-man opportunities for 35 power play goals (led by Simmonds’ 10 power play goals), 13th-worst in the league.

Philadelphia‘s last game was a 5-4 overtime victory in Toronto on Saturday.  A win tonight in Raleigh will propel the Flyers past the Canes in the standings and, if paired with a New Jersey loss, would position them as first-team-out for the Eastern Conference playoffs.  Should they lose and Ottawa win, they would fall back to 12th in the conference.

The 27-23-10 Carolina Hurricanes enter the night sitting in sixth in the Metropolitan Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference.  Similar to Philadelphia, they play a slightly below-average defense paired with a lackluster offense.

Thanks in part to Ron Hainsey’s 93 blocks, the Canes have allowed only 1578 shots to reach 17-12-7 Cam Ward and co., of which 90.5% have found the back of the net for 160 goals against, 14th most in the league.  Although the defense as a whole has not played as well, they certainly clamp down on the penalty kill, where they rank 12th-best, killing 81.88% of opposing penalty kill for only 27 extra-man goals against.

Led by Jeff Skinner’s 171 shots, Carolina has fired the puck 1819 times, of which 8.1% have found the back of the net for 148 goals (led by Skinner’s 21 tallies), seventh-fewest in the league.  Too bad for Carolina, this special team has not been as effective, as they only connect on 17.49% of extra-man opportunities for 32 power play goals (led by Justin Faulk’s 12 extra-man tallies).

Carolina‘s last game was a 4-2 loss to the Lightning on Sunday.   Should the Hurricanes win this evening, they could move ahead of New Jersey for ninth in the Eastern Conference if they fall to the Rangers.  Should Carolina lose, they would swap spots with the Flyers regardless of Ottawa‘s result.

Philadelphia may lead the season series 3-0-0, but it hasn’t been anywhere near as dominant as that record would imply.  The Canes have taken the Flyers to overtime in all three of those games, with their most recent meeting ending 4-3 in Philly on December 15.

Some players to keep an eye on in tonight’s game include Carolina‘s Jordan Staal (38 points, of which 23 are assists [17 of those were at even-strength and two short-handed], 114 hits and a +9 [all lead the team]) and Philadelphia‘s Michal Neuvirth (.93 save percentage [tied for league lead] and 2.17 GAA [tied for sixth-best in the league]).

These teams are very evenly matched for each other, made evident by their previous meetings.  Given Philadelphia‘s ability to get the winner against the Canes in the past, I think I’m leaning towards the Flyers, but wouldn’t be surprised if the game required more than 60 minutes of play.

October 21 – Day 15 – Hey, hockey on TV is hockey on TV

Last night’s Game of the Day contested between St. Louis and Montréal ended with the Habs claiming their seventh straight victory, this one a three-goal shutout.

Max Pacioretty accounted for the game-winner with under 90 seconds remaining in the first period.  Assisted by Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher, he redirected a shot past Jake Allen to set the score at 1-0, which would hold into the intermission.  Alexander Semin and Torrey Mitchell accounted for the insurance tallies in the second and third periods, respectively.

Carey Price stopped all 38 shots he faced to earn another shutout, while Allen takes the loss after stopping only 33 of 36 shots faced (91.7%).

The Game of the Day series now stands at 8-5-1 for the homers, leading the roadies by five points.

Tonight’s schedule is relatively light, with only four games being played.  The evening begins at 7 p.m. eastern when Toronto visits Buffalo, followed an hour later by Philadelphia at Boston (NBCSN).  At 9:30 p.m. eastern, the opening puck is dropped in Alberta when Detroit visits Edmonton, followed half an hour later by the final fixture of the evening: Carolina at Colorado.

Tonight’s Game of the Day, you ask?  We’ll keep it simple tonight and go with Philly at the B’s.

Philadelphia Flyers LogoUnknown

 

 

 

 

 

Just in case you’re wondering: Yes, I did choose this one because it’s on national TV in the US.  Deal with it.

Philadelphia‘s last game was against the Dallas Stars, who beat them 2-1 in the Wells Fargo Center.  After giving up a goal in each of the first two periods, the Flyers could only manage to narrow the margin to one at the 8:57 mark in the final third.  Wayne Simmonds and Matt Read assisted Sean Couturier to his first goal of the season, earning him third star of the night honors.

Boston returns home to the TD Garden on a two-game winning streak after beating the Coyotes 5-3 in Arizona on Saturday in a thrilling third period.  Shane Doan scored the first goal of the game after only two minutes of play to set the score at a one-goal advantage for the Yotes, which held into the second period.  Boston tied it up at the 8:42 mark with a Tyler Randell goal, assisted by David Krejci  and Torey Krug.  The second and final goal of the period belonged to Krejci in the 16th minute, assisted by Krug and Loui Eriksson on the power play.  The fireworks in the final period began at the 4:44 mark when Brad Marchand, assisted by Tommy Cross and Patrice Bergeron, scored a shorty to set the score at 3-1.  Boston‘s good fortunes were short-lived though, as Tobias Rieder, assisted by Doan and Michael Stone, narrowed the margin to one only 13 seconds later.  2:24 later, Arizona tied the game at three-all with a goal from Kyle Chipchura, assisted by Doan and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.  The B’s winner came 1:49 later on the power play when Ryan Spooner and Krejci assisted Bergeron to his second goal of the season.  Bergeron also accounted for the lone insurance goal (he wanted to make sure he got the winner, I guess) on another power play, this time assisted by Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller at the 18:54 mark.

Some players to watch in this one include Boston‘s Krejci (nine points [tied for third in the league] and five assists [tied for eighth in the league]) & Krug (six assists [tied for fourth in the league]) and Philadelphia‘s Michal Neuvirth (two shutouts [tied for league lead], .964 save percentage [fifth in the league] and 1.04 GA average [seventh in the league]).

Boston has a -141 advantage in this one, so I’ll go with the home team earning their third straight game in our series.