It's been just under two years since the last time the Flyers played a hockey game in Texas. The last time it happened, there was no shortage of out-of-the-ordinary happenings -- the Flyers were being filmed on 24/7, Claude Giroux returned from a concussion with a four-point game, and Steve Ott told Claude Giroux to go to nhl dot com and then got in an altercation with Peter Laviolette in the tunnel. Fun times!
Fast forward to today's game (sans-Steve Ott and Peter Laviolette, of course) and the most exciting thing we have to talk about is the weather in Dallas.
Philadelphia Flyers (13-13-2, 28) at Dallas Stars (13-9-5, 31)
2 p.m. | American Airlines Center | Dallas, Texas
In Philly: CSN Philadelphia, 97.5 FM | In Dallas: TXA 21
Get the Dallas perspective at Defending Big D
But no, really. The big winter storm that's been moving across the country the past couple of days hit our southerly friends a bit harder than they were apparently ready for on Friday, and as a result the Flyers will head into today's game without having really practiced or even skated at all since Wednesday night's win in Detroit.
That's a shame, if only because it'd be nice to try to keep things moving after the way the latter half of that game went. The third period against the Red Wings was maybe the best period of hockey the Flyers have played this season, and it couldn't have come at a much better time in the middle of a tough road trip. The more likely the Flyers are to replicate that effort, the more likely they are to keep the wins piling up.
The other side effect there of the Flyers not skating is that Vincent Lecavalier didn't get to move around and test his back, and therefore he'll miss his third straight game. As a result, Brayden Schenn will center Wayne Simmonds and Michael Raffl again on the second line (though, let's be honest, with the way Sean Couturier's line has been playing lately that group's become more of a third line).
As mentioned above, a lot has changed for Dallas since the last time they've faced the Flyers. They've got a new coach, as they picked up Lindy Ruff after he was let go from Buffalo. They've got new uniforms and a new logo, which I actually really like.
Oh, and they brought in Tyler Seguin from Boston in the biggest trade of the offseason and have just about completely revamped their forward corps. In fact, of the 12 forwards in the lineup for that game two years ago, only two of them (Jamie Benn and Vernon Fiddler) will be in the lineup today. That's a pretty ridiculous amount of turnover (which is saying something, coming from a Flyers fan and all), but it's worked out at least alright for them -- Seguin and Benn have done an outstanding job at the top of that lineup, and as a team they're in the top half of the NHL in scoring after not being there a year ago, so that's progress.
Anyways. As you assuredly know if you've watched the Flyers at all for the past three weeks or so, the engine that's been making them go has been Sean Couturier's line, and today he, Matt Read and Steve Downie will probably spend most of their time on the ice against Tyler Seguin and his pals. That line basically won the Flyers their game on Wednesday night by itself, as Couturier (who turns 21 today!) put up a career-high four points. What can they do today? And can they get some help from the rest of the forwards and/or the defense? Claude Giroux also put a goal on the board on Wednesday with an absolute rocket of a shot, and more like that from him would be just dandy.
Haven't head any concrete announcements on the goalies yet but we're going to assume Steve Mason and Kari Lehtonen are in net. Both doing quite well this year, so after all of the talk above about forwards and scoring, goals may just be hard to come by today.
Questions to Answer:
1. The Flyers haven't really skated at all in a couple of days and have been prone to bad starts on the road lately -- how do they start today's game?
2. The "third line" had nine points on Wednesday and is awesome. Today?
3. Anyone else stick out amongst the rest of the skaters for the Flyers?
4. Nicklas Grossmann has added an extra 'n' to his name since he was traded from the Stars to the Flyers two years ago. Do they give him (and his extra 'n') any sort of acknowledgement?
Gamethread will be up at 1 ET. Check in with our friends at Defending Big D for the Dallas side of things. Go Flyers.