There's always something fun about watching West Coast games at 9:30 or 10 o'clock at night, and I think it always steps up an extra notch when the Flyers are in Western Canada. Maybe it's just me, but when the team takes that trip out to Edmonton and Calgary (and now Winnipeg, I guess) every couple of years, I always find myself looking forward to late night hockey.
I'm not sure why, exactly, since the Oilers and Flames aren't the most exciting of NHL teams. Maybe it's just because of how rare it is to see the Flyers play in those arenas. Who knows, but I'm looking forward to staying up til 1 a.m. to watch some Flyers hockey tonight. I hope you are too.
Part of the excitement, of course, has to do with the carryover from Tuesday's win against the Jets. It was one of the more fun games of the year for any team, and the hope is that the Flyers can keep up that momentum with a win tonight over the Oilers. Last time they were in Edmonton, the Flyers had their hearts broken in the final minute much like they did to the Jets on Tuesday.
We remember, but half the current team wasn't even in the NHL at that point, so it's completely irrelevant to tonight's game. That goes for the Oilers, too. It's funny: Apparently when you're awful for years on end, you get a bunch of No. 1 overall picks on your team, and those players are usually pretty good at hockey.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is out with injury, but Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall are still in the Edmonton lineup, and we'll get a chance to see Claude Giroux be better than them at hockey tonight. That'll be fun.
Flyers Expected Lineup
Simmonds - Giroux - Hartnell
Briere - Read - Jagr
van Riemsdyk - Schenn - Voracek
Talbot - Couturier - Rinaldo
Timonen - Coburn
Carle - Kubina
Meszaros - Grossman
Edmonton Expected Lineup via The Copper & Blue
Hall - Horcoff - Hemsky
Smyth - Gagner - Eberle
Paajarvi - Belanger - Eager
Hordichuk - Lander - Petrell
Smid - Petry
Whitney - Gilbert
Sutton - Barker
Edmonton's coming off of a huge win over the rival Flames, and in that game, they were "the better team from start to finish." Devan Dubnyk will likely be in net for the Oilers. That's the end of this paragraph because I really don't care about the Oilers, and you probably don't either.
For the Flyers, it's simple: Continue to tighten up on defense, especially on the PK, and please God, Ilya. No weak goals. You've given up your fair share already. The Flyers offense hasn't slowed down all year, really, but let's not get into a track meet, alright? That's a good way to lose a game.
Game thread at 7ish. Action on CSN and WIP, as usual. BYOB.