The Flyers demonstrated both the highs and lows of their season in Thursday's contest in a concentrated sixty minutes. On the negative side, there were ineffective power-plays, insane breakaways and two-on-ones for the opposition, and some questionable defensive play.
On the positive side? Well, I've heard it said that when it rains, it pours. Thursday night's rainfall on Columbus was torrential--a tsunami of ginger proportion.
If you happened to miss the last match-up between these two clubs, I'm truly sorry -- you missed a really good one. It's easy to forget about the first and second periods when the third period comes in spectacular fashion, and boy, did it ever. In what can only be described as a legendary offensive explosion, the Flyers managed to score five goals that completely shocked their opponents and their fans alike.
Seriously, it was pretty incredible. Claude Giroux was absolutely stunning, building on a point streak that's currently sitting at ten points in his past five games. Oh, and if you haven't seen, his game-winner is being touted as a contender for goal of the year.
No big deal there. On a similar note, linemate Jake Voracek has been hot for quite a while despite a disappointing start to the season. His own point streak is currently at six games, as he tallied a goal and two assists in Thursday's win.
The one major change for Philly between these two games will be goaltending. Ray Emery gets the nod tonight, which means that we'll have to wait another couple of days to see if Steve Mason will end his recent stretch of bad play. Ah well. Columbus, still without the services of Sergei Bobrovsky, will be relying on Curtis McElhinney, who played as well as the Blue Jackets could have hoped in the last meeting.
Lineups for the Blue Jackets will look a little different than a few days ago, as Jack Skille will be out after he awkwardly blocked a shot with his hand. However, Marian Gaborik and James Wisniewski will play in tonight's game after extended absences. The untimely Wisniewski and Gaborik activations mean that the Flyers will be facing a stronger and more potent team than they did previously.
Columbus will certainly be trying to redeem themselves after the complete collapse that Giroux handed to them. A healing roster may help them accomplish that redemption.
Unless the Flyers are dramatically unseated in puck possession and shots on goal, though, I think that the Flyers will be able to seize opportunities when they are presented them. There's a lot on the line here (as there is with seemingly every game in this division): with a win and with the Devils and the Hurricanes losing in regulation, the Flyers will be able to stay comfortably in third, while a loss could potentially mean dropping down into fifth.
A win is clearly within the grasp of this Flyers team today. Will they be able to get it? I certainly hope so. Win streaks are fun. Go Flyers.