Hope you all enjoyed your holiday yesterday. Let's hope the Flyers had a fun day too, though let's also hope they didn't stuff themselves too much yesterday, since they'll be playing in the earliest start time of a game I can remember in recent memory today.
Winnipeg Jets (12-11-4, 28 pts) at Philadelphia Flyers (10-12-2, 22 pts)
11:30 a.m. | Wells Fargo Center | South Philadelphia
TV: CSN, TSN Jets | Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Get the Winnipeg perspective at Arctic Ice Hockey
Especially because, as you surely know, the Flyers have been sleepy enough as it is in their games lately. After a great seven-game stretch where everything from scoring from goaltending to possession was excellent, the Flyers come into today's game off of a two-game stretch in Florida where most things went poorly. (In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't get to see Wednesday night's game in Tampa, but by all accounts it sounds and looks like it was quite a rough go of things.) So let's hope the turkey they ate yesterday and the before-noon start won't lead to a similar outcome today.
Today's game is the last home game the Flyers will play for a while, as they'll head to Nashville after today's game to kick off a six-game road swing against mostly Western Conference teams. With the chance to get last change and control matchups, against a decent-but-not-outstanding team, this is one you've gotta think the Flyers are really gonna want to get two points from.
At this moment we're not totally sure of the lineup in hand for the Flyers, since Matt Read was an unexpected last-minute scratch against Tampa on Wednesday with a lower-body injury and we still don't know if he's in today. If he's not in, the third line will likely still have Michael Raffl replacing Read on the wing, making that line much less intimidating offensively. Sad. Otherwise you'd likely expect the lineups to be the same -- though I guess, coming off of two tough losses, who knows what Craig Berube will do?
As for the opponents, the Jets are in the middle of an Eastern Conference swing of their own, albeit one that they've begun with two straight wins against two Metro division rivals, the Devils and Islanders. We are thankful for that. But we'd also like to end that winning streak today, though it won't be easy. Two weeks ago when these teams played in Winnipeg, the Jets won in a shootout, though that was largely (from this observer's opinion, at least) due to a strong effort from Steve Mason in net in a game the Jets largely controlled. Dustin Byfuglien scored two goals in that game, and he's been looking quite good lately on the whole, so a lot of stopping Winnipeg offensively will come down to controlling his puck-moving efforts from the blue line.
If Read is out, it'll be interesting to see how Berube manages his matchups, particularly against that excellent top line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler. As mentioned, he should have the chance to control those matchups being at home, and you'd think he'll match up the third line that's been so good lately against them. But whether or not he does it as much with Raffl in Read's stead remains to be seen.
Steve Mason is your starter in net, via the Flyers. Ondrej Pavelec is your likely starter for the Jets.
Game at 11:30. This is the last time we have to play Atlantapeg this year, so let's all have a party when it's over. Gamethread up in a bit. Go Flyers.