The Philadelphia Flyers’ six-game road odyssey comes to an end Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils.
The orange and black have gone 4-1 on this road trip. Their only defeat was a 2-1 regulation loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
It is a tale of two very different Flyers teams tonight. Back on Nov. 7, the Flyers were in a free fall. They were shutout by the Devils 3-0 on their home ice. After the players filed into the dressing room, Claude Giroux called for a closed-door meeting. Since that meeting, the Flyers have climbed into second place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Devils are one game below .500 and are riding a two-game losing streak. Their last two games have resulted in losses to the Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks. Despite a two-game skid, the Devils have accumulated points in seven of their last ten games. The Flyers have gone 7-2-1 in their last ten.
Head coach Craig Berube will have to find a way around the Devils’ trap game. Dating back to the 2012 semi-finals, the Flyers are 3-9 against the Devils and have had trouble weathering Peter DeBoer’s suffocating forecheck system.
Martin Brodeur will start for the Devils. He has allowed one goal in two games against the Flyers this season. One strategy the Flyers must implement in their game tonight is to not allow Brodeur to handle the puck. Players need to carry the puck across the blue line tonight and take Brodeur out of the game offensively. If there is no choice but to dump the puck in, whoever has the puck must shoot it hard or lightly chip it into the corner so Brodeur cannot control it.
Ray Emery will start for the Flyers tonight. He is 4-7-0 with a 3.03 goals against average and a .890 save percentage. He made his last start against the Calgary Flames. Emery made 23 saves in a 4-1 Flyers win.
Division play is always huge, and the Flyers are hanging on by a thread to second place in the division. The orange and black are tied with the Washington Capitals for second place and are only a single point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers. Tuesday night presents a good opportunity for the Flyers to gain some ground. Only the Hurricanes are in action tonight.
Scott Hartnell can set a new career-high tonight if he registers a point. Hartnell has registered a point in each of his last seven games, matching a career high. The left wing has totaled eight points during this streak.
Former Flyers Jaromir Jagr has a chance at history tonight. Jagr sits at no. eight on the all-time goals list, tied with Mark Messier who has 694. Jagr needs one more to pass Messier.