Orange & Black Breakdown
by Vindisi on 12/21/11 at 06:13 PM ET
Philly vs Dallas: Round 1 tonight as the Flyers take on the Stars before the football teams match up on Saturday. Stars are a gritty team who have thrived off their strong play from their net-minders. They will be a tough out tonight, but the big news today is that Giroux may be back tonight. More to come after the jump…
Dallas Stars (19-12-1 | 39 pts | 3rd in West) vs Philadelphia Flyers (20-8-4 | 44 pts | 2nd in East)
One immediate eye-popper is that the Stars are 3rd in the West, but only 2 points away from swapping with the Sharks for 8th place. Their division has dropped off this year, after nearly putting all 5 of its teams in the playoffs the year before (Ducks, Kings, Coyotes, Sharks). They have been aided by stellar play from one of the best goalies in the league in Kari Lehtonen. Fortunately for the Flyers, he will be out nursing an injury tonight.
What to expect from the Stars:
Richard Bachman Who is this guy? He has been the guy keeping the Stars afloat while Lehtonen has been out. He was the 3rd goalie coming into the season behind Andrew Raycroft, but Raycroft was so bad (3.53 GAA) with 7 losses in 9 starts that they had to try their hands with someone else. In comes Bachman…all of 5’10”. Immediate reaction: he’s small, but his numbers speak a different story:
-He has 4 wins in 5 games started
-All but one of his starts have been away from home.
-He posted a shutout against the NYR ((24/7 TONIGHT))
-He has better GAA than Lehtonen (2.25 GAA compared to Lehtonen’s 2.34 GAA) and nearly identical save % (.924 to a .926)
All in all, the Stars have found a gem and are riding the hot hand (6th straight start tonight). The best way to score against lightning quick goalies are to shoot high (obviously) and to rattle him a little bit with big bodies in the crease.
Loui Eriksson: Smooth Swede is a threat on the ice at all times. He is 2nd on the team in points (27), while tied for the team lead with 11 goals. He was on fire to start the year with 16 points in 14 games. He the cooled off through November and the start of December. But the last few games has seen Loui get back to his game and really start producing as he has 5 points in his past 3 games. He will look to continue his 3 game point streak tonight.
Jamie Benn: Mr. Benn is a man amongst boys. Crazy to think he is only 22 years old as he is leading the Stars in points with 28. When his 6’2” frame gets going, he is hard to stop. His silky smooth hands to go along with that build make him a real threat everywhere on the ice. He is even not afraid to scuff up those beauties in a good ol’ fashioned tussle. I’m going to stop talking and let the visual evidence prove his all around brute force mixed with unfathomable skill…JvR take notes
Iginla did not fare so well against the young lad
Benn beats the Blue Jackets team by himself
Keys for the FLYERS tonight:
Voracek: Am I really considering getting his jersey? Absolutely. I’m not going to make any rash decisions until Homer signs him, which SHOULD be any day now before his value increases to insurmountable highs. The Flyers need him as much as he needs the Flyers. He has been the key for Talbot’s renaissance as a goal scorer, and he has been the solution for the Flyers when they look to add more skill to the power play point. I look at his game as a mix between Jagr (with his ability to shield the puck) and the tenacity of a JvR (with his tenacity/quickness to take the puck into the zone). I’m not the only one who sees him as a huge part of the puzzle as he was seen taking power play practice on a line with Jagr and Giroux yesterday. That line just screams goals. Alright, I’m going to admit…man-crushing hard right now.
JvR: Is his abdomen/rib injury fully healed? After that shootout goal last night, I hope so. I also hope it is a sign of things to come. He is suffering once again through the mid-season grind as he only has points in 1 of the 7 games played this month. We must remember that this is only his 3nd year in the NHL. He is going through many of the inconsistencies that plagued Voracek last year. They both came out of the same draft class (JvR 2nd overall, Voracek 7th overall), but Voracek is now in his 4th year in the NHL and is finally starting to put the pieces together on a game-by-game basis. We all want to see him succeed now, but there needs to be an understanding that he may still be one more year from putting it all together as he settles into his (hopefully) long NHL career.
Giroux: Is he back with no lingering side effects from the C-word? Nobody knows but G. Personally, I am hoping they took the overly cautious approach with him. Apparently, he has been cleared to play since Saturday and has exhibited no symptoms since then. So, you’re guess is as good as mine. But if this was a minor concussion, the Flyers can breathe a sigh of relief as finally some good news comes out of the injury front. (Get well soon Prongs/Schenn/Cooter)
”Hey G, head butt coming your way…kidding kidding”
My BOLD predictions for tonight:
-Giroux retakes the league lead in points after a 4 game hiatus
-Read pots a goal after a mini dry spell
-Simmonds tallies a goal, then proceeds to ‘knock-knock’ G’s noggin
Listening to this before 24/7 tonight
Lets Go Flyers!
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The Orange & Black Breakdown looks to be the ultimate, around the clock source for news and information on the Philadelphia Flyers organization and it’s ever-present quest for the Stanley Cup. Focusing on what the team can do to achieve success is the ultimate goal.
The OBB is written and maintained by myself - Marc Siciliano. I’m a college graduate and media production professional in the sports industry with credits on projects like Hard Knocks: Bengals and 24/7 Penguins vs. Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic. A man of many hobbies, I always seem to find a way to spend a disproportionate amount of my daily routine with two things: Flyers hockey and social media (much to the dismay of my hockey impartial friends on twitter).
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