Wait, are you trying to tell me that the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the playoff hunt? Those same Maple Leafs that haven't been to the playoffs since Jeremy Roenick dispatched them from the 2004 Eastern Conference Semifinals? They're like, a relevant team in the Eastern Conference again? Man, that's weird.
7 p.m. tonight at Wells Fargo Center in South Philly
TV: CSN Philly, TSN, NHL Network | Radio: 94 WIP [feed]
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But it's true. Suddenly, the Leafs are right in the thick of things in the East, and they're just five points back of the Flyers in the standings, although the orange and black do have one game in hand over them. With a win tonight at the Wells Fargo Center, they could jump up even closer to the Flyers. How likely is that?
From the Flyers perspective, they should theoretically win the game if they put in the same kind of performance as they did against the Islanders on Tuesday night -- tons of possession, strong in the corners on the offensive end, good power play, great effort by the top line. Having an opposing goalie that doesn't play like he's the second coming of Jesus would be nice, too, but I'm willing to bet lightning doesn't strike twice in that regard. Well, let's hope not.
James Reimer is in goal tonight for the Leafs, and it'll apparently be Sergei Bobrovsky in goal for the Flyers, since Ilya Bryzgalov is a little bit ill. There's been some confusion on Twitter this morning regarding the goalie situation tonight, with several people asking about the waiver status of the goalies with the Adirondack Phantoms.
The Phantoms are in Voorhees today, a pit stop on their way to Norfolk, Va. for the weekend, so a last minute call up isn't much of an issue in terms of logistics. Waiver status doesn't necessarily matter, either, thanks to the emergency recall provision in the CBA. (For the record, Michael Leighton is subject to both regular waivers and re-entry waivers, while Jason Bacashihua is subject to regular waivers but exempt from re-entry.)
That's why you get this news this afternoon:
#Flyers have recalled goaltender Jason Bacashihua from the Adirondack Phantoms on emergency conditions, according to GM Paul Holmgren— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) February 9, 2012
Jason Bacashihua is our backup goalie tonight, then. Prepare yourself accordingly.
Other lineup news: The Daily News put the thought out there that James van Riemsdyk could return tonight -- not based on any inside knowledge or anything, but based on the speculation that the demotion of Harry Zolnierczyk was to clear space for Reemer on the 23-man roster -- but Paul Holmgren announced after practice that JvR is not ready to go.
For more on tonight's game, check in with our buddies over at Pension Plan Puppets. Our game thread will be up at 5 p.m., and you can catch the action on CSN Philly in the Delaware Valley, NHL Network across the U.S., and TSN in Canada.