Minus Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Lidstrom, the Red Wings are still a strong team. And we can’t let them use injuries as a crutch given that we’re without Chris Pronger all year, and now Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros are both out indefinitely. So even though tonight’s game lacks a bit of star power, it’s still a great chance to see if the Flyers are really coming around.
Ilya Bryzgalov has suddenly become brilliant again. He’s looked awesome over the past 2-3 weeks. It’s a small sample size, but that’s all we have to work with. There have been a handful of soft goals, but it’s becoming far more rare that we see those. I’m really excited to see how he’ll do tonight (I haven’t checked but I assume he’s starting). I don’t have any predictions, but I am getting the gut feeling that he’s quickly morphed in the goalie that we all envisioned. After the last game, a 1-0 shutout of the Washington Capitals, he said something that really stood out to me.
Stop worrying abut me, guys. Seriously.
It’s a far cry from his usual joking with reporters. That short statement tells me that he’s focused, which exactly what I thought his biggest problem was. The Red Wings will be sure to test that tonight. I’m not as confident that our team defense has come around as much as our goalie has, but we’ll see. They have been a bit better of late. The forwards are really going to have to do a better job of helping out in the back out while the team is without it’s top 3 d-men.
I don’t really know what to expect from this game. Last time we played, in Detroit, both teams had long spurts where they controlled the play. That’s kind of how you expect things to go when two good teams play. I guess by that logic, we should see more of the same. Even without Datsyuk, the Wings have plenty of depth, so I don’t expect this game to be a lot different than if he were here. However, with him not there, it does make things a bit easier. Players don’t have to worry as much about getting pick-pocketed from behind when they head out of their zone. He’s a master at that, and nobody is as much of a threat to do that in the NHL like him.
Also, Danny Briere recently talked about how the team doesn’t want to head down the same path that they did last season. Most of the players are aware that they just fell apart down the stretch and backed into the playoffs. They know that they need to avoid that, and go in on a high note. Winning helps, but beating good teams helps even more. Hopefully, after the banner ceremony to honor Mark Howe is over, the Flyers can give him a gift of 2 points.
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