Gameday: Biggest game of the year so far

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#4 Philadelphia Flyers (33-17-10, 76 pts) at #3 New Jersey Devils (40-19-3, 83 pts)
Prudential Center - 1:00 PM ET - Newark, NJ
TV: CSN Philly HD, MSG Plus HD
Radio: 610 WIP, XM 205
This is the open game thread.
Behind Enemy Lines: In Lou We Trust
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I apologize this game thread is up so late - just 20 minutes to game time as I start writing - especially for such a big game like today's.

Not only does Danny Briere return to the lineup today after missing what seems like the entire season, it's a game against one of our biggest rivals, who happens to be in first place. This game could've meant more. If things fell their way, the Flyers could've had a chance to tie the Devils for first place with a win today. But thanks to two New Jersey wins against Florida and Colorado, and the virtue of a Flyers OT loss against Montreal on Friday night.

Today's game still looms large though. With the Flyers two games in hand, a win today will put first place within their reach. A loss will give the Devils a significant edge. Also, the Flyers have the chance to put the first dent in Martin Brodeur's comeback tour. It'll be his third game since returning to the lineup against Colorado, but the first time he's been tested in back-to-back days. Hopefully, that hurts him a bit.

Watch out for Zach Parise. He's been a Flyer-killer this season, with 3 goals and 4 assists in four games. He scored twice yesterday against Florida. The Devils offense as a whole has outscored its opponents 11-2 since Brodeur's return.

As mentioned and as I'm sure you know, Danny Briere returns to the lineup. We've all been upset with the way his return has been handled, so if he wants to stay on our good side, he better have an excellent game. Is that fair of us? Probably not. But we're Flyers fans, right?

Between The Pipes: It's a battle of the MB's today as Martin Biron takes on Martin Brodeur. The Flyers will need an excellent outing from their goalie today, and a good game could really solidify his spot as the number one goalie after Niittymaki's "adventurous" outing on Friday night.

For Brodeur, there were thoughts that he might not be the same after coming back from injury. He's done nothing but shine since his return though, recording two shutouts in three games.


New Jersey Devils Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Paul Martin other-excused 02/26/2009
Travis Zajac other-excused 02/26/2009
Brendan Shanahan foot 02/26/2009

Kimmo Timonen will miss this afternoons game again, still suffering from flu problems. Nate Guenin takes his place in the lineup, but I wouldn't expect to see the youngster on the ice all that much.

Questions To Answer

  1. How does Danny look in his first game back?
  2. Can the Flyers goalie be the better one on the ice?
  3. Can the Flyers contain Zach Parise?
  4. Given the magnitude of this game, do the Flyers outwork the Devils?
  5. They proved they can hang with the Capitals the other night. Do the prove the same with these Devils?

Go Flyers.

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