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Orange & Black Breakdown

Game 57: BUF @ PHI

Scuffling.  Falling off the map.  In panic mode.  These are some of the things you keep hearing.  The Flyers actually have competition within the city again with the Sixers playing well.  This is something that Homer is seeing and is trying to figure out the best plan of attack.  He wants to provide enough buzz to bring the Flyers as the clear forefront team in the winter sports spectrum without losing much in the talent department.  It’s a catch 22, something that will be addressed in tomorrow’s FRIDAY FLYERS post.  Until then, we have a Sabres team, which I’ll dive into after the jump…

Buffalo Sabres (24-26-6 | 54 pts | 14th in East) vs Philadelphia Flyers (31-18-7 | 69 pts | 4th in East)

This isn’t the same Sabres team that nearly knocked off the Flyers in the playoffs last year.  No one would have ever thought that after Pegula bought the team and was aggressive in free agency.  Residing as the 2nd to last team in the East this year thanks to the 3rd worst offense in the league will not help quell this season’s nightmare.  Leino has become an eye-sore for the fans as he continues to get first line minutes with little to no results.  15 points on the season sits him at 14th on the Flyers team and only 3 points ahead of Pronger and 4 points ahead of oft-injured Schenn (Sorry, I had to do it).  My prediction that his rookie playoff run would never translate came to fruition because he came into the playoffs fresher than everybody and didn’t have to deal with the 82 game wear-and-tear. 

On the other hand, this season is proving how challenging an 82 game slate can be as the Flyers are starting to wear down at the worst time.  This team is so young and hasn’t gone through the gamut enough times to be able to break out of these rough stretches unscathed.  I’m getting a little ahead of myself as there will be more about this in tomorrow’s write up.

What to expect from the Sabres:

Jason Pominville He has been their best player by a country mile.  He is nearly doubling up the 3rd highest scorer on his team (his 53 points to Roy’s 27 points).  I would love to say, “stop him and this team goes nowhere”, but the Sabres seem to get up against the Flyers as they have had 2 close matches early in the season barely edged out by the Flyers.  Plus the purest threat on the team is…

Thomas Vanek: He is a natural born sniper.  He can light it up from anywhere on the ice.  He has the best shooting percentage on the team at 14.1% (just a little shy of his career 15.4%)  He has been a 40 goal scorer twice.  Problem is he doesn’t shoot enough and has lacked that killer instinct that Lindy Ruff has tried to pull out of him since he entered the league.  Let’s hope that killer instinct stays bottled up for tonight’s game.

Ryan Miller: February has seen the Miller of old as he has shown glimpses of his dominance that made him viewed by players in a survey last year as the most difficult goalie to play against. He has already shutout the top 2 teams in the East this month.  First came a 1-0 shootout loss against the Rangers on the February 1st (sound familiar), then a 6-0 shutout against the Bruins on the 8th this month.  In his last 8 games, he has a save percentage of .951.  Lucky us.  Let’s hope they sit him for Enroth to give him a breather for the Habs game on Friday. (UPDATED: ENROTH TO START).

Proverbial McNabb reference when mentioning soup (Bonus: McNabb is a Syracuse product)

Keys for the FLYERS tonight:

Hartnell: Could you regain that pre- All-Star form again?  You still see him and Giroux clicking, but the revolving door at the other winger spot is tough for a guy like Hartnell.  He thrives off of chemistry.  I guarantee you Scotty was the first person at Jagr’s door after practice yesterday with a nice bowl of soup to help him overcome his recent bout of the flu. 

Rookies:  Is the grind of the team finally starting to take a toll on them?  They have virtually carried the team this year in allowing them to be where they are at this point.  I’m 23 and I struggle to get through the daily grind of a desk job.  The following is a list of all the guys on the team that are my age or younger:

Cooter 19

Schenn 20

Voracek 22

JvR 22

Simmonds 23

Gus 23

Bourdon 22

Rinaldo 21

Wellwood 21

Moral of the story: Growing pains are expected.  Which leaves us to the elder statesmen on the team…

Briere and Jagr: Will these guys pick up the playoff scent and perform at the level we have expected to see from them?  You’ve seen it from Briere in the most recent playoff runs.  You’ve seen it from Jagr in the World Championships.  Maybe they are keeping that reserve in the tank for the all important second season.

”Pardon me, I have a fist pump to complete”

My BOLD predictions for tonight:

3-2 Flyers **Knock Knock**
-Briere gives us his patented fist pump
-Reader gets off the schneid potting a goal
-Hartnell scores on a screamer top shelf from the left dot


Continue the discussion with us on twitter (@marcs797 and @thevintern), email (theobbreakdown@gmail.com), or in the comments below

Lets Go Flyers!

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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 (theobbreakdown@gmail.com) and let’s talk hockey.

Thanks for reading; Lets go Flyers!