On April 5, 2007, Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils beat the Flyers by a score of 3-2. It was Brodeur's 48th and final win of the season, one more than Bernie Parent's long-standing record of 47 wins in a year.
But we in Philly brushed aside Brodeur's accomplishment while the rest of the league celebrated it, because ten of those wins came via the shootout, which very obviously didn't exist when Parent was plying his trade for the Flyers on the way to a Stanley Cup in 1973-74. Parent had 12 ties attached to his record that year -- surely, if the shootout had existed, he would have won at least a handful of them, and he would still be the record-holder today.
If the Red Wings beat the Flyers tonight in Detroit, it'll be their 20th straight win at home. That's ridiculously impressive, and it'll tie an NHL record currently shared by the 1975-76 Flyers and the 1929-30 Boston Bruins should they do it. When the Flyers set their record, however, it wasn't an unbeaten streak. It was a win streak, and they didn't use the benefit of the shootout to their advantage. The same for the Bruins.
During this streak, the Red Wings have won three games in the shootout. Those would have been ties in 1976 or 1930. If we're taking that into consideration, this Red Wings streak really lasted 12 games, and it ended on January 12 against Phoenix. Lets just keep that in mind while NBC Sports Network beats us over the head with talk of "history" tonight.
Speaking of streaks, the Flyers' last game at Joe Louis Arena -- a 3-2 win last January -- ended a 22-year drought without a win in that arena. Some of the guys on the team today weren't even born 22 years ago, so it's a pretty irrelevant stat when all's considered, but the Flyers' lack of success in Detroit fits hand-in-hand with the whole history storyline in this game tonight.
When it comes to things that matter, the Flyers are actually a phenomenal road team, and that's probably the more interesting storyline here. You have the NHL's best home team (by a mile) facing off against the best road team in the league -- which will come out on top?
Beyond that, the Flyers really need the points. It's been a rough week, with four losses to divisional opponents and no let up in sight with the Red Wings on the agenda. A win tonight would be huge in the standings, but perhaps more importantly, huge for the psyche.
Ilya Bryzgalov is with the team in Detroit, but there's no word on if he'll be in net this evening. If not, Sergei Bobrovsky will get his third straight start. Eric Wellwood was a late scratch for the Phantoms last night in Norfolk, Va. and has been called up to the Flyers on a precautionary basis today. Jakub Voracek left yesterday's game against the Rangers and didn't return, and it's unclear on whether or not he'll be in the lineup tonight. Wellwood will replace him if he can't go, and that'll likely jumble up the lineup quite a bit.