Game 79, Preview and Game Thread: Detroit Red Wings at Philadelphia Flyers

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#6 Detroit Red Wings (41-23-14, 96 pts) at #8 Philadelphia Flyers (38-34-6, 82 pts)
Wachovia Center - 12:30 PM ET - Philadelphia, PA
Radio: 610 WIP, XM 205
This is the open game thread.
Get the Detroit perspective at Winging It In Motown

Well, here we are. Four games left, and the Flyers likely have to win all of them to get into the postseason. But somehow, despite this ridiculous collapse that we're in the midst of, the orange and black still hold their own fate. They still control what happens the rest of the season. Four wins and they're in. Anything less, and we might have to start looking elsewhere.

We called Friday night's game against Montreal the biggest of the season. From here on out, they're all the biggest games of the season, beginning today at home against the red hot Detroit Red Wings. We're aware of the situation today and the team better be as well. Quite honestly, it's sad that I sit here on the second to last Sunday of the season, the playoffs in question, feeling the urge to write "they need to come out on fire and take control from the start."

It's pathetic that we can't trust them to do that at this point, but that's just a microcosm of the season -- the last several seasons, really. But hey, you know what? As I wrote the other night, this late in the year, what's the point of getting down on them? It is what it is, right? We might as well cheer them on and hope for the best.

We tend to look at the opponent and see DETROIT and get nervous right away, but yes, while the Flyers have struggled mightily in recent (more than that, really) years in the Motor City, they haven't lost to the Wings in Philly since 1996. Postseason notwithstanding, of course. The last win came during The Season That Shall Not Be Named, a 6-1 win, and probably the best point of that year.

The Flyers can beat the Wings today. Let's just hope they want it enough.

After the jump, lineups, questions to answer and our in-game discussion.

Flyers Line Combinations

van Riemsdyk – Richards – Giroux
Gagne – Briere – Leino
Hartnell – Powe – Asham
Carcillo – Laperriere – Betts

Pronger - Carle
Timonen - Krajicek
Parent - Coburn

Detroit Line Combinations

Franzen - Datsyuk - Holmstrom
Bertuzzi - Zetterberg - Filppula
Williams - Miller - Draper
Meech - Helm - Eaves

Lidstrom - Rafalski
Kronwall - Stuart
Ericsson - Lilja

Starting Goaltenders

Brian Boucher 29 1499 6 17 72 2.88 689 617 .896 0

Chris Osgood 22 1193 7 8 59 2.97 536 477 .890 1


Questions to Answer

  1. Chris Osgood hasn't played in two months. Does this create a weakness the Flyers can take advantage of?
  2. How does Ville Leino play against the team that threw him away?
  3. Can the Flyers show the same intensity all game today as they did in the second half against MTL -- really, the last five periods dating back to the NYI game?
  4. Do the Flyers control their playoff destiny by the end of the game today?

12:30 start time on NBC. Join us here for the conversation, and LET'S GO FLYERS!

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