PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 22: Ilya Bryzgalov #30 and Jaromir Jagr #68 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrate their 2-1 shootout victory over the Washington Capitals at the Wells Fargo Center on March 22, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Hey, so if the Flyers win tonight against the Montreal Canadiens at the WFC, they'll officially qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 16th time in the last 17 years. That's pretty incredible. Think about it: If you're in high school and a Flyers fan, the Flyers have made the playoffs every year you've been alive -- except that one time they really, really sucked when you were a kid. For as much complaining we do and as much hoping as we do for a Stanley Cup, we have it pretty damned good as hockey fans.
It's actually an interesting dichotomy with tonight's opponent, the most storied franchise in all of hockey. For all 24 Stanley Cups that the Habs have won in their history, they're nowhere near another one right now. I mean, you can't win a Stanley Cup with an English-only-speaking head coach in Quebec anyway. It's against the rules. Beyond that, general manager Pierre Gauthier has seemed less than capable of doing anything right this season, and the team on the ice is a direct reflection of the chaos that surrounds them off of it.
Which team would you rather be a fan of? The team with 24 Stanley Cups but little hope of adding to that collection in the near future, or the team with just two Stanley Cups -- both of which were won long before some of us were born -- but with a legitimate chance of winning one in every season for the foreseeable future?
I know my answer to that question. We'll talk about the game after the jump.
There's some confusion this morning/early afternoon on defense. The Flyers recalled Erik Gustafsson from the Phantoms, which would only seem to make sense if there was an injury of some sorts. We'll know at game time, if not sooner, what the deal is there.
The Canadiens are coming off a 5-1 win in Ottawa the other night, but despite the scoring output, the real story of that game was the 37-save night for Carey Price. There's no question that the Flyers can and should outpace the Canadiens in all zones of the ice tonight. They should have the puck more, generate more chances, earn more power plays and generally do all of the things that winning hockey teams do.
But goaltending can be the great equalizer, and after the frustrating loss to Florida on Tuesday and the come-from-behind wins of the last month, it'd be really nice to see the Flyers put one behind Price early tonight. Pittsburgh and the Rangers are starting to pull away a bit in terms of home-ice edge in the first round, so while the points aren't vital, the Flyers need them if they'd like to keep pace in the division race.
For more on the Habs' side of things, check in with our friends over at Habs Eyes On The Prize.
GAME RECAP CONTEST: For our game recap tonight, we're going to do something a little different. All of us who, you know, write for this site, are unavailable to write this evening due to family functions or other obligations. So we're opening the recap up to you all.
If inclined, write a recap of tonight's game in the FanPosts. We'll choose one that's super awesome (and up in a semi-timely fashion) and throw it on the front page as our official recap of the game. The winner will earn a tshirt of their choice from the Broad Street Hockey Store.