Will the Devils take advantage of the tired Flyers? Can the Flyers improve upon their weak points from games one and two? Previewing tonight's game...
The desperate Flyers are desperate for a win tonight, because they're two games into a 48-game season and if they lose another game here we're gonna have to start thinking about tanking for Seth Jones. EVERY GAME COUNTS™.
Okay, cliches are stupid. Over-reaction to two games is worse.
Philadelphia Flyers (0-2-0) at New Jersey Devils (1-0-0)
7:30 p.m. | Prudential Center | Newark, N.J.
TV: CSN Philly, NBC Sports Network | Radio: 93.3 WMMR
Get the New Jersey perspective at In Lou We Trust
In reality, we're two games into the season and the Flyers haven't looked that poor. They've taken periods off to begin games, their penalty killing and overall discipline has been a rough point and they're getting physically run out of the building regardless of opponent, but there have been flashes of good play and they've legitimately had a chance to win both games against quality teams.
There's a lot of room for improvement, to be sure, but they've played better than their 0-2 record indicates. Ilya Bryzgalov has been really great, Claude Giroux continues to look like the best player in the world and .... well, okay, the defense has been pretty brutal.
On the bright side of things, the Devils' power play was pretty bad in their opener against the Islanders on Saturday, so tonight might be a good opportunity to get the penalty kill in some sort of order. Or, it might be a chance for the Devils to roll all over the Flyers' weak PK. I guess we'll see.
The Devils have played just one game so far this season while the Flyers are playing their third game in three cities in four days, so fatigue is legitimately becoming a factor here in the early season. The Flyers lost to Pittsburgh in Philadelphia on Saturday, flew to Buffalo, slept there Saturday night, lost there Sunday afternoon, flew back to Philly after the game, stayed at home Sunday and Monday nights and now are on a train (?) to Newark for tonight's game.
It wouldn't be shocking to see another slow start. The Devils know the Flyers are weak and slow on the back end, and pile that on top of fatigue and we get in a pretty rough position. Let's hope the Flyers can dictate the pace early. They can't keep leaning on Bryzgalov the way they have been.
New Jersey's defense looked really solid in their first game. Sure, it was the Islanders, but they really controlled the game and limited John Tavares & Co. to just 13 even strength shots on goal. Travis Zajac and Jacob Josefson will be in the lineup tonight it seems. There was a chance they'd be out with injury.
I'd expect Tye McGinn in for Zac Rinaldo tonight. No idea if Lavi will shuffle the lines much, though. It's Ilya Bryzgalov vs. Martin Brodeur in goal. Great seats are still available because this is the Devils we're talking about here. Newark ain't far, so go to the game. We'll report back with lineups after each team hits the ice for the morning skate.