Much like the Flyers, the Winnipeg Jets have had a rough season so far. They're towards the basement in the Western Conference, there have been trade rumors about some of their best players, and the speculation has circled around coach Claude Noel's future in the organization.
Philadelphia Flyers (7-10-1, 15 pts) at Winnipeg Jets (9-9-2, 20 pts)
8 p.m. | MTS Centre | Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
TV: Comcast Network, TSN Jets | Radio: 93.3 WMMR
Get the Winnipeg perspective at Arctic Ice Hockey
Also like the Flyers, the Jets have won three straight games, and fans are hopeful that they're turning their fortunes around. Unlike Philadelphia, though, Winnipeg has been winning despite being heavily outplayed and outshot in their last few games, including a shootout win over the Red Wings on Tuesday night.
Winnipeg -- and Atlanta, for that matter -- always gives the Flyers fits. Whether it's the 9-8 "lost in the woods" game, or what turned out to be Chris Pronger's last ever game, or blowing a three-goal lead in the third period, there just aren't a lot of good memories in the history of these two teams.
The Flyers should be in good shape tonight, though, as they enter the NHL's loudest building. (Does that still apply? Is the honeymoon over in Winnipeg?) The goals have been coming with ease, the defensive play has been a whole lot better, and the goaltending has been absolutely phenomenal. Steve Mason will be in goal for the Flyers. Ondrej Pavelec is in goal for Winnipeg.
Winnipeg's a one line team. Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler lead their offense, which is currently ranked 22nd in the league in total goals scored per game. Evander Kane has forgotten how to score and doesn't have a goal since October 26, and that's what's led to the trade rumors.
They shouldn't be terribly difficult to defend against at even strength, and the power play should be even easier as the Jets have the worst PP in hockey. They're converting at just 8.4 percent on the season -- by comparison, who have also had a slow start on the PP, are converting at 13 percent.
Mark Schiefele vs. Sean Couturier is a big story line up in Winnipeg heading into this one. If you recall, the Jets took Schiefele at No. 7 in the 2011 draft, leaving Couturier to the Flyers, and long story short, they're kind of mad about it. (Hint, hint for those of you not yet convinced that Coots has a ton of value.) Our pals over at Arctic Ice Hockey penned not only one but two huge comparison pieces looking at the two players today. Worth the read.
There's no reason the Flyers shouldn't control tonight's game from the outset, and there's no reason to think we won't see their fourth-straight victory tonight. Also, because Ben Rothenberg is recapping the game for us again. He started on Saturday and the Flyers haven't lost since. It's foolproof.