Yahweh, we put our fate in your hands;
we have no control over what happens next.
Yahweh, please don't let us be disgraced;
don't let our enemies laugh at stupidity enacted on our behalf.
We have tried proclaiming truth day after day,
but we know that, in the end, only you can deliver us.
Philadelphia Flyers (33-19-7) @ Edmonton Oilers (23-30-6)
Rexall Place, 7:30 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
After the Flyers made drastic changes to their team over the summer, I expected them to be hurt a little bit in the standings over the short term, but that hasn't happened. Instead, players like Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr have exceeded expectations in a big way and the Flyers have been solidly in playoff position all year long. They're by no means favorites (I have them as the fourth-best team in the Eastern Conference behind the Bruins, Penguins, and Rangers), but the Flyers should be able to either make the second round or put up a very good challenge in the first round against one of the three big dogs.
Edmonton Oilers (23-30-6):
Hall - Horcoff - Hemsky
Smyth - Gagner - Eberle
Eager - Belanger - Paajarvi
Hordichuk - Lander - Petrell
Sutton - Gilbert
Smid - Petry
Whitney - Potter
Philadelphia Flyers (33-19-7):
Hartnell - Giroux - Simmonds
Briere - Read - Jagr
van Riemsdyk - Schenn - Voracek
Talbot - Couturier - Rinaldo
Timonen - Coburn
Carle - Kubina
Grossman - Meszaros
By the Numbers:
- I don't know if anyone is doing a Top 25 Under 25 for the Philadelphia Flyers, but their top seven looks fantastic. I don't know what order I'd have them in but Sergei Bobrovsky, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, James van Riemsdyk, and Jakub Voracek make a very solid group. It would be awfully tough not to have Giroux at the top; he is, after all, tied for second in league scoring with 70 points, just three back of Evgeni Malkin.
- It was a group largely built via trade when the Flyers sent both Jeff Carter and Mike Richards away. The Carter trade made (and makes) more sense to me, but it's awfully tough to argue with the results so far. Had the Flyers not decided to spend eleventy billion dollars on Ilya Bryzgalov they may not have done it all, but if there's an amnesty buy-out period heading into the next CBA, I've got to think that Bryzgalov will be near the top of the list, and that signing may come to be looked at as a very odd positive for the franchise.
- Scott Hartnell averaged just 11:38 in the Flyers' first six games of the year, but has become one of their more important players since. With 28 goals and 28 assists in just 59 games, Hartnell is on his way to the best offensive season of his career. As you might expect, he's also having a career year for shooting percentage (17.2% compared to a career average of 11.3%).
- In the Oilers' last game against Calgary, Jordan Eberle earned his 100th (and 101st) career point. In doing so, he leapfrogged Eric Brewer for 66th on the Oilers' all-time scoring list. If he can net twenty more by the end of the year, he'll be passing players who spent a lot of time with this team (Jason Smith, Raffi Torres, Martin Gelinas, Georges Laraque).
- Sam Gagner has been getting time on quality lines over the last several games, and it's really showing in his shot totals. Over his last nine games, Gagner has had 3.56 shots per game. That's much higher than what he's been able to produce over the course of his career. He had a career high 2.50 in 2009-10 before regressing to 2.03 last season. His recent hot streak has brought his total for the year up to 2.15.