Looking ahead to Flyers-Senators

After what was one of the most emotionality charged games ever in October, the Flyers  have to again put Mike Richards in the past and focus on the Ottawa Senators. Last year the season series was split 2-2 with Ottawa winning both games at home. In fact the Flyers haven’t won at the Scotiabank Place since November 24th, 2007, but this is a perfect chance for the Flyers to bounce back with a big offensive night.The Senators come into this game dead last in the NHL in goals allowed at 23 through five games. Craig Anderson has been horrific in net, so far this season he has a .853 save percentage and a 5.07 goals allowed. Even though the numbers are bad, it isn’t all his fault. The Senators defense has allowed Anderson to face 129 shots in four games, which breaks down to just over 32 shots per game. This is exactly the test in net that the Flyers need after facing one of the best goaltenders in the game on Saturday night.

The Flyers were stoned by Jonathan Quick in the big time moments. He stopped 32 of 34 shots and was a perfect 25-for-25 on even strength. Once again the Flyers used the power play to their advantage scoring twice on it against the Kings. On the negative side the Flyers once again gave up multiple power play goals. The Kings cashed in with a Justin Williams goal and the game winner on a 4-on-3 in OT, this comes after the Flyers gave up 2 power play goals to the Canucks. Odds are that the trend of power play goals will continue on Tuesday night.

The Senators are currently 29th in the league when it comes to the penalty kill, but are ranked 3rd in the league in scoring on the power play. This is a perfect chance for the young penalty kill for the Flyers to get back on track.

Keys to the Game

Staying out of the penalty box especially in the 3rd period – Against Vancouver there were five 3rd period penalties and against the Kings there were four, including the JVR tripping penalty with 19.9 seconds left, which led to the Kings game winner in OT. Sounds obvious to say, but it is the truth, the Flyers cannot continue to commit these penalties if they want to hold leads or be in range to come back. Giving the opposition opportunities like that even with Bryz in net is going to cause a problem. Right now it is the biggest problem on a short list.

Putting the puck in the net – Coming into this season there were a lot of questions as to who would be the dominant goal scorer on this team. Right now it looks like that job belongs to Claude Giroux, but we are still very early in the season and with a roster this deep there are plenty of possibilities. This game presents the chance for someone to step up and maybe even have a hat trick. With a defense and goalie struggling the way the Sens are right now, the orange and black have to capitalize. This is a golden chance for Jaromir Jagr to get his first goal as a Flyer.

Keeping an eye on ice time – Peter Laviolette has had quite a task so far in trying to balance the amount of ice time each line receives. The checking line of Talbot, Rinaldo, and Nodl played at such a high level for those first three games that he had to keep putting them out there, we didn’t see that much of them against the Kings though. Not one of the three reached the 10 minute mark in TOI. Scott Hartnell has been floating around the 10-11 minute mark which is a bit of a surprise and it is nice to see Chris Pronger averaging right around 25 minutes. Not bad for someone who wasn’t supposed to be healthy until a couple weeks after the season began.

Prediction: Flyers 6 Senators 1, yes the track record is against them, but the Flyers are going to pour it on tomorrow night. This young team needs to have a big game like this to get their confidence back to the level it was before the overtime loss to the Kings. The Giroux line has a combined five points and the power play scores multiple times again.

Are the Flyers going to finally break the streak of losses in Ottawa? Will Jagr finally score? Tweet me @scottdargis and ask me questions or tell me what you think is going to happen.

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Tags: Claude Giroux Craig Anderson Flyers-Senators Ilya Bryzgalov Jaromir Jagr Laviolette Peter Philadelphia Flyers

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