Today we head to Winnipeg, a city about which a wise man once said:
"You don't want to go to Winnipeg, right?" Bryzgalov said. "Not many people live there, not many Russian people there. Plus it's cold. There's no excitement except the hockey. No park, no entertaining for the families, for the kids. It's going to be tough life for your family.
"I've been there for just once, maybe twice, when I play in minors. It was really cold. I used the tunnels between the buildings to get to the arena. Because it was minus 40-something. Real cold."
And the city has hated said wise man ever since. Love you, Bryz.
But anyways. Kinda goes without saying that this game is fairly important, no? The Flyers, somehow, have won four in a row, and their playoff hopes have gone from just short of nonexistent to...well, still not great, but it's possible. And they've got a crucial match this afternoon against a team that (a) has lost five in a row and is (b) directly above them in the standings. All the playoff odds sites seem to have this game pegged as roughly a 10% swing in either direction for a regulation win/loss, so yeah. Lots at stake here.
The Jets, who've spent some time atop the very bad Southeast Division this year before their recent slide, are still an interesting bunch. They've still got a puncher's chance at a division title and/or a playoff spot themselves, so in front of that crowd in Winnipeg you've gotta think they'll be a tough out today, even despite their slide. (Though apparently the Jets are only 8-9 at the MTS Centre this year. Huh.)
But yeah, they're interesting. Apparently they recently had top defenseman Dustin Byfuglien playing forward, but reports are that he'll be back on D today, which is nice of them to not conjure up memories of what happened the last time Dustin Byfuglien played forward against the Flyers. Back in net, they've got Ondrej Pavelec, who doesn't have good numbers and is probably the most Jekyll and Hyde goalie I've ever seen in my life, but seems to play well whenever he plays us so who knows what's gonna happen there. Oh, and Evander Kane threw a helmet the other day so hopefully that doesn't happen again.
For the Flyers, the tale of the amazing patchwork defense hopefully continues today. Luke Schenn and Oliver Lauridsen were outstanding on Thursday night, and it'd be nice if that continues today. Ilya Bryzgalov is in for his 22nd straight start, because if you're gonna buy a guy out at the end of the year it doesn't matter if his legs fall off at the end of it, right? But yeah, he's in. Expect some chants and boos and stuff.
Won't even try to guess the Jets' lineup because of Byfuglien shifting back to D and all that, but the Flyers' lineup should look the same as it did on Thursday:
Read - Giroux - Voracek
Hartnell - Schenn - Simmonds
Gagne - Fedotenko - Knuble
Hall - Couturier - Rosehill
Timonen - Gervais
Lauridsen - Schenn
Gustafsson - Huskins
Kimmo Timonen's been listed as a game-time decision, but the beat guys all seem to think he's playing and he's also not a real human being who feels pain so I assume he'll be in. Will update if that's confirmed.
Questions to Answer:
- More good stuff from Sean Couturier, who's on a four-game point streak?
- Can the Schenn/Lauridsen pairing replicate what it did on Thursday night?
- 22 straight for Bryz. How's that work out?
- The last time these two teams played, the Flyers won on the strength of three PP tallies. They haven't notched one on the PP since last weekend. Can that improve?
Puck drop at 3. This is your gamethread. Here's the Jets' preview at Arctic Ice Hockey. Go Flyers.