The Flyers Look to Rebound; Host the Jets
Philadelphia Flyers (8-10-1) vs. Winnipeg Jets (7-8-1)
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
1:00 p.m. on CSN and 97.5 The Fanatic
Setting the Stage
This is the second of three meetings between the Flyers and the Jets. The Flyers claimed a 3-2 victory in the first game which came on the road.
The Flyers are fresh off a tough 5-2 loss at the hands of the Florida Panthers on Thursday evening. The loss marked the second of a back-to-back set of games. Philadelphia had defeated the Penguins on the road in a crazy 6-5 affair the prior night.
Ilya Bryzgalov is coming off a less-than-stellar effort against the Panthers. The Russian netminder allowed four goals on only 15 shots in just over 30 minutes between the pipes before being pulled for Brian Boucher.
Jakub Voracek continued his strong play. After registering a hat trick against the Penguins, Voracek netted another goal against the Panthers.
The Jets are riding a two-game winning streak coming in after one-goal victories against the Sabres and Hurricanes.
What to Expect
It was pretty clear that the Flyers were fatigued against the Panthers so a re-energized group is likely to take the ice on Saturday.
After scoring six goals against a talented Pittsburgh team, the Flyers fell into a 4-0 hole against Florida but still managed to net a pair of goals. They should be able to score quite a few goals against a Winnipeg team that has a goals-against-average of 3.10. That mark is good for 24th in the NHL.
Special teams could be an area that can win the Flyers the game. The Jets have the worst penalty kill in the NHL as they are only killing off 70% of their penalties.
Voracek will look to continue his hot streak as he has eight points in his last three games. He leads the Flyers with 19 points and also leads in goals (7) and assists (12). Voracek seems to be the spark that is helping the Flyers in their wins. He'll have to keep up his stellar play as winger Matt Read will miss six weeks due to a muscle tear in his ribs.
Jets captain Andrew Ladd leads Winnipeg in points (16) and goals (9).
The Masked Men
The Flyers haven't named their starter for tomorrow afternoon quite yet. However, with the news that Bryzgalov is tired (has started 17 of 19 games), it wouldn't be a huge surprise if Brian Boucher got the call in net. Boucher played well in relief of Bryzgalov against the Panthers, stopping 10 of the 11 shots he faced. It is unclear what direction Peter Laviolette will head coming into Saturday's contest. Bryzgalov has allowed 10 goals in his last two games but did come up with some key saves against the Penguins on Wednesday.
Ondrej Pavelec has started the last four games for the Jets dating back to February 15. Pavelec stopped 27 of 30 shots in his most recent victory against the Hurricanes. In the first game of this season series, he got the nod and allowed three goals to the Flyers. It sounds like the Jets will ride the hot hand which is Pavelec right now.
Keys to the Game
1. Strong Power Play. The Jets have the worst penalty kill in the entire league. The Flyers need to play smart and get Winnipeg into the penalty box. The Flyers' power play hasn't been lighting the world on fire thus far, but a strong showing could guarantee them a victory in this game.
2. Keep The Goals Coming. Voracek is one of the hottest players in the NHL right now. With an abundance of points from him lately, the Flyers need to get him the puck. Wayne Simmonds is also playing very well and had a stellar game against the Penguins.
3. Strong Defensive Effort. The Jets aren't exactly taking the hockey world by storm when it comes to scoring goals. They lack a superstar but do have some talented scorers in Ladd, Evander Kane, and forward-turned-defenseman Dustin Byfulgien. The likes of Kimmo Timonen, Luke Schenn, and Braydon Coburn need to be physical and play smart. Coburn had a great game against the Penguins in which he had an assist and registered five shots-on-goal.
"Moving forward, nothing you can do about what happened tonight. We can just learn what we did wrong and we can continue to move forward and practice and prepare ourselves for the games and the games we have ahead of us."
- Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov on moving forward.