The Canuck’s are a damn good team because they have depth at every position. Say what you will about various character flaws here and there, but this team is legit. I still think their loss to Boston in last years Finals was a huge fluke. And of course, any time you play them, the Sedin twins names come up. The fact that they are twins doesn’t give them any other-worldly power. The fact that they are both immensely talented and grew up playing together is what makes them so productive. Throw in another talented player, and you’ve got one of the most dangerous lines in hockey.
That’s why today’s game is best early indicator how just how good the Flyers team defense really is. The problem is that Vancouver is missing Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond, so they aren’t exactly at full strength. Regardless, they have enough weapons to make it a very tough night. As is the case with any highly skilled team, we have to expect shots from everywhere. Bryzalov’s lateral movement will definitely be tested tonight. A game like this, against an opponent like this is the main reason he was brought in.
Having spent his entire career in the West, he should be familiar with Vancouver’s shooters. Last year he was pretty horrible against them. A 1-1-1 record and a .887SV% look pretty bad, especially when he played on a Phoenix team that relied on defense to win games. The season before, he was 1-2, with a .880SV%, and that’s when he was a Vezina candidate. But we are not the Coyotes, strapped for cash and talent. We can offer him a lot more support, which was one of the main things that drew him to sign with us long term.
When the Flyers went West last year, they got spanked 6-2 in their only game against the Canucks. And I felt that last years team was more talented and better than this years. But, this team has a different mix of players, so a different result is more than possible. Especially given that Vancouver hasn’t really hit their stride. They lost 4-3 in a shootout to Pittsburgh, and only got past the Blue Jackets with a 3-2 win. But you never know when things can click for them, so I expect we’ll need a solid effort from Bryzy to get a W tonight. Hell, if we can go into the defending champ’s house on banner night and get 2 points, then whose to say that the other finalist can’t come spoil our party? Le’ts hope it doesn’t happen though.
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