The Flyers and Ducks are an interesting match up at any time because of the organizational similarities. Both teams covet the same toughness and grit in their players and that earns mutual respect between the franchises. It’s no coincidence that Anaheim’s top young talent Bobby Ryan is a Philadelphia native. And it’s also no coincidence that when the Flyers needed a tough and skilled defenseman in the offseason, they went after the long-coveted Ducks’ blue liner Chris Pronger.
Both teams try to play a high-energy, physical game, which is why tonight’s match up at the Wachovia Center could be an entertaining one.
The Flyers enter Saturday’s contest with an Atlantic Division leading 3-1 record but are coming off a disappointing 5-4 loss to the rival Penguins. The Ducks, on the third game of a four-game road trip, stand at 1-1-1, but are coming off an impressive 6-1 domination of the Boston Bruins.
Leading the Flyers in scoring is Mike Richards, Matt Carle and Jeff Carter, who all have seven points in four games. All three have a four-game scoring streak.
The Ducks are led by defenseman James Wisniewski and forward Corey Perry, both have four points in three games.
Tonight’s game marks the first time Flyers’ defenseman Chris Pronger will face his former team. He was traded to the Flyers at the draft for forward Joffrey Lupul and rookie defenseman Luca Sbisa, both of whom will be in the lineup for the Ducks tonight.
The Flyers have had a lot of success on the offensive side of the puck early in the season, ranking fourth in the NHL in goals per game with 4.25. Philly’s power play has been decent but not great hitting at a 29.2%, good enough for 13th in the league.
The team has announced that to get forward Claude Giroux more involved, they will switch him from third-line center to first-line winger. Replacing him on the third line will be two-way utility player Mika Pyorala. The rest of the lines are expected to stay the same.
Arron Asham and Riley Cote will be on the active roster for the second night in a row. James van Riemsdyk continues to be out of the lineup with “head trauma.”
Gagne – Richards – Giroux (10 points)
Hartnell – Carter – Briere (14 points)
Asham – Pyorala – Powe (1 point)
Carcillo – Laperriere – Cote (1 point)
Ole Kristian Tollefsen will make a start for the second game in a row. Danny Syvret will be the scratch.
Coburn – Timonen
Pronger – Carle
Parent – Tollefsen
Ray Emery will make his fifth start in a row. He is 3-1 with a 2.98 GAA.
The Ducks’ power play is its strong suit of late, hitting at 38.5%, ranking them fifth in the league. In their last contest, Teemu Selanne netted his first two power play goals the season and Evgeny Artyukhin scored two even-strength to start heating up the Anaheim offense. Winger Joffrey Lupul, who has three points on the year, makes his return to Philadelphia.
Ryan – Getzlaf – Perry (7 points)
Carter – Koivu – Selanne (4 points)
Lupul – Marchant – Artyukhin (5 points)
Brown – Nokelainen – Parros (0 points)
Defenseman Luca Sbisa and Steve Eminger also make their return to Philadelphia.
Niedermayer – Eminger
Whitney – Wisniewski
Sbisa – Boynton
Jonas Hiller is expected in net for the Ducks. He has a 2.50 GAA and is 1-1 on the year.