Ottawa Senators (12-14-5, 29 pts) at Philadelphia Flyers (18-8-7, 43 pts)
Wachovia Center - 7 PM EST - Philadelphia, PA
TV: CSN Philly HD, Sportsnet East HD
Radio: 610 WIP, XM 207
Check Here for Internet Streams
Behind Enemy Lines: Sens Army
What To Watch For: Ottawa sucks on the road, just 3-8-2 on the year. The Flyers on the other hand can make it 12 straight games without a loss at the Wachovia Center tonight with a win. We're the third highest scoring team in the league, while Ottawa is second from the bottom in scoring. They don't allow too many goals though, just 83 so far this season, and that's due mostly to good goaltending from Alex Auld.
Scouting the Enemy: With all the trouble scoring, the Senators have split up the line up Alfredsson - Heatley - Spezza that was so lethal last season. A little comparison: the Flyers have six players with at least 10 goals; Ottawa has just two. They've fallen hard after finishing just behind the Flyers with 94 points last season. Despite a recent "guarantee" from owner Eugene Melnyk, don't expect this Senators team to make the postseason this year.
Regardless of the problems in Ottawa, though, don't expect the Flyers to go easy, especially considering the Sens beat the Flyers on November 6. As Kimmo Timonen said today, "It's not Christmas for us yet, we still have one game to go, so we have to be ready to go."
Between The Pipes: Antero Niittymaki is the starter again. The Flyers were hoping to get Marty back in there tonight, but the flu is still bugging him a bit and they assume that with a few days off for Christmas, he'll be ready to go Friday night in Chicago.
Alex Auld is in goal for the Senators. Despite his teams troubles, he hasn't had all that bad of a season. In fact, he's got a winning record at 9-8-4 with a 2.34 GAA and a .915 save percentage. The shit goaltending has come from Ottawa's other backstop, Martin Gerber, who has gone 3-6-1 this season.
Injury Report: Glen Metropolit and Scottie Upshall are out. Andreas Nodl has been called up to replace Upshall, as I mentioned in depth in my post yesterday.
Daniel Alfredsson will play despite receiving a crushing hit from Jere Lehtinen of the Stars over the weekend. He didn't return to that game, but will play tonight. Sens Army thinks he's a robot. They also tell us that Filip Kuba, perhaps the Sens best defenseman, will not play tonight thanks to a groin injury.
Questions to Answer:
1. Do the Flyers play down to the Senators level, or do they beat them soundly like they should?
2. Can the Flyers get off to a good start? They have not scored the first goal in the last four games.
3. How will the bottom two lines, composed of practically all AHL players, hold up? Can they effectively contribute to the offense? How does Nodl do at the start of his second Flyers stint?
4. Does the Lupul - Carter - Hartnell line keep up their unbelievable pace?
Let's Go Flyers!