Winter Classic Preview

By now everyone has seen the transformation of Citizens Bank Park into a winter wonderland for hockey fans. Today isn’t just a spectacle however, it is a very important hockey game with two valuable points on the line. The Rangers come into this game with 50 points the most in the Eastern Conference, the Flyers trail by you guessed it two points.

The game will not feature Ilya Bryzgalov in net for the Flyers as he told the media yesterday that he will be on the bench thus giving Sergei Bobrovsky the start. Bobs has earned the start by way of his play in his last six starts. It is somehow plausible to say that right now the backup goaltender, who most thought was going to be traded away after Bryzgalov was signed to that massive contract, gives this team the best chance to win.

Each goaltender has lost to the New York Rangers this season. Bobrovsky lost 2-0 and Bryzgalov lost 4-2, both of the losses came at the Flyers house of horrors Madison Square Garden. In both of those contests the Rangers were spring boarded by their goalie Henrik Lundqvist. He allowed very few second chance opportunities in fact the only scramble goal that the Flyers scored against them was late in the 4-2 loss by James van Reimsdyk.

New York has not suffered a loss when they have scored first this season so it is imperative for the Flyers to take advantage of a hot crowd in the beginning of the game. If the Rangers are able to settle in and slow down the speed of Philadelphia it is going to be a long day at the bank.

Prediction: This game has the potential to be a turning point for either club. The Flyers got a huge win last Friday against the Penguins and need to keep the momentum going and there wouldn’t be a better way to do it than by finally beating the Rangers this year.

You would think that the first line would be the favorite for the Flyers to score in this one, but it is the role players that usually score in the Winter Classic. I’m predicting goals from an emerging Vorachek, Talbot, and an empty netter from Jagr. Bobrovsky validates Laviolette’s faith and the Flyers win this one 3-0.

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Tags: 2012 Winter Classic Claude Giroux Ilya Bryzgalov Philadelphia Flyers Sergei Bobrovsky

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