For one of the few times this season, the Flyers have selected goaltender Marty Biron to start back-to-back games. After playing a big part of the Flyers’ 3-1 win over the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins, Sunday afternoon, and 6-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, Biron will be back in net, as he tries to lead his team against the Atlantic Division leading New Jersey Devils.
“Marty is going to play,” said Flyers coach John Stevens. “He has played very well and he looked really solid yesterday. Because it was an afternoon game it gives him a day and a half to recover. Marty is playing his best hockey of the year and it’s good to keep him going.”
Biron, who has elevated his game down the stretch and solidified his hold over the Flyers’ number one spot, is 7-12 lifetime versus the Devils and 15-8 at home this season, but typically has not fared well in double header games.
However, the Devils are also on the tail end of a back-to-back series. They lost an Eastern Conference showdown against the the top-seeded Boston Bruins, 4-1, on Sunday. New Jersey has also struggled on the road of late, going just 3-5 in their last eight games away from the Prudential Center.
The Flyers are nine points behind the Devils for the division and conference, with one game in hand. The Devils are currently first in the division and second in the conference with 97 points. The Flyers stand in fourth place in the conference with 88 points.
Tonight’s game will be at 7 p.m. on Versus.
With 14 seconds left in Friday’s 4-1 victory over the Los Angelas Kings, Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin took a nasty head shot at Kings’ rookie Wayne Simmonds. The hit wasn’t penalized, but the intent has undoubtedly been considered dirty .
The intent to injury by Malkin, with no time left on the clock and up three goals, has spurred the argument that if he does not see a suspension, the NHL may possibly be giving star treatment when it comes to discipline. But before you call for Flyers bias, here is what the Pittsburgh Post Gazette had to say.
“That is deserving of a suspension if you ask us. Malkin clearly went after the player’s head. Additionally, there was less than 10 seconds left in the game. If that’s a Flyer delivering a blow, the suspension is almost automatic. Malkin shouldn’t be exempt because he’s a star player. But the NHL has a game on NBC Sunday to worry about so don’t expect Colin Campbell and company to take any action on this.”
If Malkin is suspended, it won’t be before the NHL’s big Flyers-Penguins primetime match up on NBC on Sunday. And if the league does drop the faux one-game suspension hammer just to keep themselves honest on headshots, it could come as late as Monday. But there is no way, anti headshot crusade or not, that the NHL will keep him out of a nationally televised event.
In response to the lack of aggression and energy shown by the Flyers the past two games, coach John Stevens played Dr. Frankenstein in today’s practice, in an attempt to promote more balanced scoring.
The Flyers moved Danny Briere to a line with Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter, while Joffrey Lupul was moved to a line with Mike Richards and Daniel Carcillo. Claude Giroux was moved to the top line with Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble.
“The last couple games we didn’t create a lot of chances offensively,” said Simon Gagne. “Sometimes a little bit of change will bring that energy or that thing you’re looking for.”
The Flyers arrived in Buffalo this afternoon to take on the struggling Sabres, Friday night at 7 p.m.
Throughout the 2008-09 season, the Flyers have proven to be notoriously inconsistent, typically following up a Stanley Cup caliber performance with one or two energy-lacking clunkers. And with only three points separating them (fourth-seed) from the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference, the serious lack of energy shown this crucial time of year, has not evaded coach John Stevens, who pointed it out after the Flyers dropped the first two games of a very important four-game road trip.
“We need to skate,” Stevens said. “We’ve got a good group of skating forwards. We need to pursue the puck and be a lot more aggressive, with and without the puck. I didn’t think we did that the last two games.”
Faith by George Michael topped the Billboard top 100, Rain Man was about to take the American box office by storm and Flyers’ captain Mike Richards was three years old, the last time the Flyers won at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Nov. 15th, 1988.
“I was just a young player in the Flyers’ organization the last time the Flyers came in here and won,” said Flyers’ coach John Stevens. “It’s been 21 years, which is amazing. We don’t come here very often, but hopefully it gives us some motivation to get the job done.”
After submitting to a review from the NHL’s disciplinary office, the NHL has came to the conclusion that Flyers’ defenseman Braydon Coburn’s punch to Nik Antropov in the second period of Sunday’s 4-1 Flyers’ loss, was not worthy of a suspension.
Coburn received a five-minute major and game misconduct for what the ref deemed as an attempt to injure.
The Flyers have recalled 23-year old Phantoms’ defenseman Danny Syvret to replace injured defenseman Randy Jones. Jones tweaked his hip/groin in the second period against the New York Rangers on Sunday.
“It is still pretty tender today. I’m still getting treatment, but it is still pretty sore,” said Jones. “I am getting, by but it’s not like it’s life or death, that’s for sure.”
Syvret has been a warrior for the Phantoms this season, scoring 11 goals and 37 assists in 65 games. He is ranked second in the AHL in points for a defenseman. Syvret played 16 games with the Edmonton Oilers in 2006-07. He tallied just one assist during that time.
Syvret came to Philadelphia in a trade for center Ryan Potulny in early 2008. Seen as a project, the defenseman began to flurish in Philadelphia under the coaching of John Paddock. And for all his hard work and production, the Flyers are rewarding him with a shot. He will wear number 26.
Two months after Anaheim Ducks’ forward Corey Perry was suspended four games for blatantly elbowing Flyers’ rookie Claude Giroux in the head, the notoriously dirty right wing got a taste of his own devices in his team’s 1-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks, Sunday.
During the post-game wrapup, Perry was whining to the media that Sharks’ goalie Evgeni Nabokov kicked him with the toe of his skate during a pileup in the crease.
“Everything was over,” Perry said. “I was still lying there on my knees. All of a sudden, Nabokov just turned and kicked me. He rolled onto his side and kicked me with his right leg. He hit me with his toe.”
With five seconds remaining in the second period of Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers, Flyers’ defenseman Braydon Coburn took a punch at the head Rangers’ forward Nik Antropov, sending him sprawling on the ice clutching his face in his hands. What appeared to be just a punch to the head behind the play, turned into a five minute major and matching game misconduct because Coburn was still clutching his stick at the time, making the play look like an intent to injure.
“I just watched it and I’m not sure it was even a penalty,” said Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren. “I’m not sure if the G.M. meetings influenced the call. But any time we come out of meetings like that, there’s usually some kind of effect.”
After thoroughly dismantling the Rangers, 4-2, in Philadelphia on Saturday, the Flyers let a golden opportunity slip away to further secure the fourth seed in the playoffs, as they dropped the second half of the home-and-home with New York, 4-1, at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.