Colorado Avalanche (15-14-1, 31 pts) at Philadelphia Flyers (16-7-6, 38 pts)
Wachovia Center - 7 PM EST - Philadelphia, PA
TV: CSN HD, Altitude 2
Radio: 610 WIP, XM 205
Check Here for Internet Streams
Behind Enemy Lines: Mile High Hockey
What to Watch For: Colorado has owned the Flyers in South Philly, posting an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games here. Peter Budaj has never faced the Flyers.
Scouting the Enemy: The Avalanche have sputtered around the Western Conference this season, and as someone said this afternoon on NHL Home Ice on XM Radio, they are perhaps the most inconsistent team in the league, and definitely the hardest to understand. By all accounts, they had no right winning last night's game in Detroit, but behind a stellar, stand-on-your-head performance by Andrew Raycroft, the Avs beat their rivals 3-2. But as Mike of Mile High Hockey puts it...
we haven’t looked like a real hockey team for 60 minutes since the Clinton Administration…
So, uh, there's that. This is a big game for the Avalanche. A win puts them back in the Western Conference playoff picture, and starting off a four game road trip with wins in Detroit and Philadelphia is perhaps something they could build on. They're also 6-3-1 in their last 10 games overall.
Between The Pipes: Peter Budaj is in net for Colorado. He has never faced the Flyers, and while he's had a better season than his backup Andrew Raycroft, it's nothing to write home about. He's got a save percentage just barely over .900 and a goals against average of 2.73.
Antero Niittymaki is in for the Flyers. Martin Biron has the flu and will not dress. Scott Munroe has been called up from the Phantoms to fill in for Marty. Nitty has won four straight games, including his last, the Flyers come from behind win over Carolina last Thursday. Neither of the Flyers two starters have started consecutive games
Questions to Answer: This idea has been taken from Hockey Wilderness, a Minnesota Wild blog, because it's just such a good idea. Hats off to them. I pose a few questions before the game, and then post game we take a look at the answers.
1. The Flyers are second in the league on the PP while Colorado is 20th in PK. Can the home team take advantage?
2. Which team will benefit from Peter Budaj's first start against the Flyers?
3. Will the Avalanche have any momentum coming off of a gusty win over the defending champs, or will the two games in two nights with travel in between throw them off?
These questions will be answered following the game.
Injury Report: Joe Sakic is sidelined for Colorado after losing a fight with a snowblower.
Randy Jones is eligible to return tonight, but Stevens has opted to keep him out one more game.
Milestone Watch: Mike Knuble scored his 200th NHL goal on Saturday against Pittsburgh.
Today in Flyers/Avalanche/Nordiques History: In 1993, the Flyers beat the Nordiques and goalie Garth Snow 3-2 on a game-winning goal by Mark Recchi.
And a look back from October 7, 1982, opening night at the Spectrum against the Nordiques on PRISM:
Let's Go Flyers!