Orange & Black Breakdown
by Marc Siciliano on 02/02/12 at 06:42 PM ET
Clear your schedules - the red hot Nashville Predators are in town. This Music City Miracle - winners of five in a row while sporting an impressive 11-2 record in the month of January - stands as a true test of playoff potential for the Flyers. Arguably one of the toughest remaining West coast match-ups on the schedule, the Preds have been one of the impressive work horses in the division that has become the toast of the NHL. It may look like they’re catching a break with the announcement of Lindback as the starting goalie for Nashville tonight, but he too should prove to be no small task for the Orange and Black (Of course the pun was intended).
After the jump, we’re getting our neighborhood watch on to see what it will take to tackle this relatively unknown bunch of Predators.
Nashville Predators (31-16-4 | 2nd in Central, 4th in West) vs Philadelphia Flyers (29-14-6 | 2nd in Atlantic, 4th in East)
When looking ahead towards a playoff-type game versus a cross-conference powerhouse such as Nashville, it’s natural to look first towards the battle between the pipes. In this case, all eyes will surely be trained solely on Bryzgalov to see how he handles such a tough test. The good news for Bryz is that Nashville isn’t necessarily an offensive juggernaut, though they do rank 7th on the Power Play on the road. Throughout his career Bryz has had pretty good success versus the Nashville power play, only yielding 5 goals in 18 games (which stands as one of the better numbers versus other opponents). This season he has had a knack for giving up back breaking goals on the PK, but if he focuses on his current streak of 5 straight periods without a PP goal he should continue to build some confidence within the crease.
There is every reason to believe that Bryzgalov can begin to build off of his solid performances as of late. Lost in the chaos of the shootout is this impressive stat dug up by the guys over at ESPN - 3 of his last 4 games have been 1 goal efforts. It has been well documented that continued play will be crucial in him finding his game - and now the opportunity is unfolding right in front of him. Hopefully #30 can lock in early; he seems to be on the verge of breaking through some serious mental barriers.
This one should be a dandy
As far as the skaters are concerned, it appears both Lilja and Rinaldo will be gracing the line-up tonight for Philly. Rinaldo has been chomping at the bit to get into the line-up, so keep an eye on him to see how he makes use of his ice time. With the emergence of Sestito as yet another reliable winger for the bottom-six, Rinaldo is surely feeling the pressure to perform; but will he be able to toe the line?
The Flyers need to build off of a strong third period effort from the last game and get pucks in early on Lindback, who has only played in 1 game since December 23rd and it was over 2 weeks ago (A 3-0 Loss to the Rangers). If I don’t remember what I had for dinner that night, how can he remember what a hockey game feels like? But seriously: if the Flyers can assert themselves physically in the offensive zone and make Nashville second guess the decision to sit their best goalie against an offensive powerhouse like Philly in the early going, this could turn into the type of game that gets some of your guys hot and hungry for the latter portion of the season.
Nashville’s loss = Philadelphia’s gain
When you factor in the strength of the opponent with the added spice generated from the Nashville tenures of Hartnell and Timonen, these are the types of regular season games that guys get fired up for. Will the Flyers rise to the occasion? Here’s to hoping the Flyers can channel their inner Chris Hansen and catch some Predators tonight..
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About Orange & Black Breakdown
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).
So what does this mean for you? The plan is to combine these
time-wasting habits passions with my love for writing to provide you with complete coverage of the Flyers from both my head and around the web, 24/7.
This is my second writing stint focusing on the Flyers, but for a much larger audience - so do be gentle. Different perspectives and opinions on the organization are welcome and encouraged. Just because I see it one way doesn’t mean I’m beyond seeing it your way as well, so speak up!
I’m always interested in interacting with readers, so find me on twitter (@marcs797) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s talk hockey.
Thanks for reading; Lets go Flyers!