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Game 5, Preview and Open Thread: Sbisa & Lupul Return, Anaheim Ducks at Philadelphia Flyers

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Anaheim Ducks (1-1-1, 3 pts) at Philadelphia Flyers (3-1-0, 6 pts)
Wachovia Center - 7:00 PM EST - Philadelphia, PA
TV: CSN Philly HD, FSN Florida HD
Radio: 610 WIP (internet stream), XM 207, Sirius 219
This is the open game thread.
Behind Enemy Lines: LitterBox Cats

It's an evening of reunions tonight as the Anaheim Ducks visit Philadelphia for the only time this season. Chris Pronger will face off against his former team for the first time, while Luca Sbisa and Joffrey Lupul play the Flyers for the first time. It should be interesting to see the reception those two players receive from the Wachovia Center crowd tonight.

We all saw on Thursday night how Chris Pronger treats old teammates on the ice. In the waning minutes against Pittsburgh, he grabbed former Duck Chris Kunitz by the collar and jolted him back and forth into submission. And those two consider each other friends. How do you think he's gonna treat someone on the Ducks he might not have been particularly fond of?

Ducks fans are happy he's on the East Coast now because that means they won't see him often. That's just one of the reasons they are ultimately happy with the trade. Earl Sleek from Battle of California...

I'm still in favor of moving Pronger, btw -- even with the Ducks' struggles and Philly's early success, Pronger had to be moved before that next contract was signed. Philadelphia is now carrying the risk of Pronger's next over-35-multiyear-contract; that's something that likely Anaheim couldn't afford to do. Besides, Luca Sbisa has looked great and Joffrey Lupul has fit in so far (Killing penalties? OMFG!), and I'm still excited for the draft picks, however late in the first round they are.

As for those Ducks' struggles, they fell hard in their first game 4-1 to San Jose, and then lost to Minnesota in overtime in game two after blowing a three goal lead. Anaheim is coming off of an impressive 6-1 win over the Bruins, though, and they're getting contributions from all around. Four different players, including Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan, scored against Boston.

Side note: The floor at Wachovia Center was set for a Sixers preseason game on Friday night, so the Ducks were forced to hold their morning skate at UPenn. If you've never been to UPenn's Class of 1923 rink, it's an old gem of college hockey, but it doesn't exactly have the amenities of the typical NHL practice facility or rink.

The Flyers look to be pumped up for this game for more reasons than playing against old friends, though. After dropping an embarrassing decision to the Penguins on Thursday, the orange and black better be on their game tonight. The defense and goaltending absolutely need to step it up this evening and regain the form they had on the road a week ago.

No word on the Flyers lineup tonight. It's assumed that Riley Cote and Arron Asham will be in the lineup again considering James van Riemsdyk and Blair Betts are still out. There's no word whether Danny Syvret or Ole-Kristian Tollefsen will be on defense, and there's been no announcement on a goaltender. This, as of 5 PM Saturday evening.

After the jump, a few questions to answer tonight...

Questions To Answer

  1. What kind of reception will former Flyers Joffrey Lupul and Luca Sbisa receive tonight?
  2. Can the Flyers defense as a whole step it up and play a solid game?
  3. On an individual level, how does Braydon Coburn rebound from a terrible outing on Thursday?
  4. Do the Flyers keep up the offensive prowess, especially with an impressive power play?

Tonight's game is on CSN Philly in HD and you can listen on 610 WIP. As always, join us here for the conversation and LET'S GO FLYERS!