BOSTON -- While the Flyers were skating on the ice with their families yesterday, taking in the unbelievable experience here at Fenway Park, the New York Rangers were getting ready to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes, taking two points and the eighth and final playoff spot, pushing Philadelphia back to the outside.
It may be a carnival atmosphere inside and outside the park, but the Rangers win is just another reminder that the Flyers still need to play desperate hockey today as they truly need every point they can find. They feel that they're in the right frame of mind to get to work.
"We started focusing on it [Thursday]," said Braydon Coburn. "Having a good practice, a few meetings and stuff, just going over what we want to do [Friday]." While players were seen pelting snowballs at Scott Hartnell during Thursday's practice on the field at Fenway, Coburn went on to say that they did get work done, trying to figure out the quirks of the rink and the things that might go on during the game.
With a ridiculous slump still fresh in the memory of everybody involved with the Philadelphia Flyers, it's hard to say that it's been broken. They haven't picked up a win against a true quality opponent since last time they beat the Bruins a few weeks back, but Kimmo Timonen doesn't think this four game winning streak is a fluke.
"It feels that way," said Timonen when asked if the Flyers have turned a corner. "It helps that we have everybody back in the lineup. We had some injuries, key guys out of the lineup and we got some bad breaks at times and that kind of stuff. I think the last four games, the way we've played -- you talk about team game, four lines rolling. If we can stay healthy, we'll be a dangerous team down the road."
Today is obviously an abnormal game, and it'll be the first time every single member of the Flyers has played a meaningful game outside. Obviously, the differences are vast between playing inside. You've got the temperatures to play with, and most players are wearing protective underwear to keep them warm. The other teams in town are helping out in that regard.
"This stuff is a little thicker," said Scott Hartnell while taking a peek at his warm undershirt. "We got this stuff from the Philadelphia Eagles and we've got the long pants too that they wear under their gear too, just to insulate the body. [At practice] I felt warm, didn't feel cold at all."
While a heated bench, penalty box, and special gear will make the cold weather at least bearable for the players, they still talked about just playing simple hockey. That's something the Flyers have done well over the last four games.
"They're all road wins," said Dan Carcillo, "When you're on the road you want to play simple hockey and hard hockey and just pound bodies and work hard. That's the biggest thing, our work ethic and our skating has been a lot better."
If any snow does fall, it will be difficult to move the puck and it'll be even more important to keep the game simple.
"The snow," Carcillo contiuned, "it's tough when you're stickhandling, the buildup and everything. So just crisp passes and dumping it in, pounding, you know. Just another road game."
But this clearly isn't just another road game. As we talked about yesterday, this game feels like a neutral site contest. Outside the park, fans are maybe 60/40 in favor of the Bruins, and it might even be more balanced than that. Carcillo thinks it's going to be pretty even.
"I think we're both on the road. We're both in the same situation, we're both outdoors playing in the elements. For both teams it's a road game. It's a pretty even playing field."
For more coverage of the Winter Classic today, check out Stanley Cup of Chowder, Over the Monster, SBNation.com, and BSH on Twitter. We'll have out open thread up around 12:00. I'll be posting pictures and commentary live from Fenway Park and the surrounding area throughout the afternoon.