Orange & Black Breakdown
by Vindisi on 10/24/11 at 05:47 PM ET
The Toronto Maple Leafs make their first trip to the Wells Fargo Center tonight to take on the Flyers. After the jump we look at who’s hot, who’s not and what the Flyers will need to do in order to end their meager losing streak.
Toronto Maple Leafs (5-1-1 | 11 pts) vs Philadelphia Flyers (4-2-1 | 9 pts)
Brayden Schenn hasn’t exactly brought smiles to the faces of Flyers fans as the losing streak began when he was inserted into the lineup. To say that his call-up has caused such a drop-off in play would be unfair to him. Luckily, he is playing against his older brother Luke, so I expect to see his best game of the young season as he looks to outplay his brother in front of his family in attendance.
Schenn Brothers - never to be confused with the Hanson brothers
Also, the Flyers need to find that extra jump that they’ve shown in road games. I don’t know if it’s the added pressure of performing well in front of the home crowd or whether they are waiting for the fans to give them the necessary energy to play well, but winning at home needs to be priority number one.
What to expect from the LEAFS:
Phil Kessel: He is scorching to start the season as he leads the league in points (14) and goals (8). He finally has teammates of similar skill level to play with, which is opening up the ice for him this year. His line needs to be the main focus of the Flyers. If I were Lavvy, I would put the Read (JvR and Voracek on the wings) line out there on him as they have the perfect complement of size, speed and defensive awareness.
Jonas Gustavsson (The Monster): I know the Blues were supposed to be a bit easier to play against because they were playing their backup, but the Flyers ran into a hot goalie that night. Tonight should be an easier task as they face the ‘Monster’ thanks in large part to the Canadiens captain (Gionta) knocking out James Reimer early on in the Leafs last game. Gustavsson struggles in rebound control and was vulnerable to top shelf trapper side shots against the Habs as he let in 3 that night in that fashion. This is a game where Briere (Cookie Monster: explanation in predictions) and Hartnell (King of dirty but good) could succeed off the goaltender’s weaknesses.
Joffrey Lupul: An old friend comes back and was probably looking forward to catching up with his Olde City crew. Unfortunately for him, they have been shipped out (except for Hartnell courtesy of his NTC). He comes into this game playing some of his best hockey notching 8 points in 7 games (4G-4A). It will be nice to see what he has changed since his days of playing for the Flyers. One person he will not be happy to see is Chris Pronger (as he was the main piece in both deals for the esteemed defenseman).
Lupul returns to his ole’ stomping grounds: Olde City bars
Keys for the FLYERS tonight:
Chemistry: Will we finally see it in the top 3 lines? The problem for the Flyers is Lavvy isn’t sure how to utilize each line. He needs to determine roles for each line so that he can get a better gauge of what needs to be addressed. Gone from last year is the visually determinable well rounded top line, an offensive minded 2nd line and a defensive minded 3rd line. He has yet to figure out what he wants each player to show him on a nightly basis.
Top line: Which line is the Flyers top line for Lavvy? One has to think Giroux’s line, but the past 2 games have seen Briere lead all forwards in ice time (almost 24 minutes last game). One of these lines has to be relied on a consistent basis as the go-to line in crucial situations.
Keep your head on a swivel: Which young Flyer will make the mistake of flying down the ice with his head down? The Leafs are suiting up a team of heavy hitters, especially Rosehill, Phaneuf, Brown, and Orr (main reason Shelley is dressing over Nodl tonight) The Flyers are young and inexperienced. They need to be aware of where they are on the ice and not get over-extended to put themselves in harm’s way.
My BOLD predictions for tonight:
-Briere pots 1 where mother keeps the cookies (top shelf)
-Schenn fights…but it’s not his brother
-Jagr doesn’t score, JvR does
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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