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Flyers at Sabres preview: getting predictable?

The Flyers play a hockey game today. We think we know how it might go.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Alright, guys. So here's the deal. Travis is not around today, given that he's in Pittsburgh (ew gross) for the Frozen Four championship with his alma mater, Quinnipiac. So I'm recapping, but I have an important obligation immediately after this game is expected to end. So covering this afternoon's ever-so-crucial contest in Buffalo is going to be tough here at Broad Street Hockey dot com.


Philadelphia Flyers (17-20-3, 37 points) at Buffalo Sabres (16-19-6, 38 points)
3 p.m. | First Niagara Center | Buffalo, N.Y.
TV: NBC Sports Network, CSN Philly, MSG-B | Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Get the Buffalo perspective at Die By The Blade

Fortunately, we've got a safety net in place for just this kind of situation. Thanks to how predictable most Flyers games have been this season, we've been able to prepare a form-style recap that just lets us plug in a few numbers and words. Mad Libs, basically. So that way when the game ends we just need to fill in those values and we've got a recap all ready to go.

Here's what the input categories look like. (Hat tip to Brandon Lee from Liberty Ballers for the idea, and the fine folks at The Good Phight have done something similar in the past as well. I'm not a very original person.) For some pre-game fun, try and predict the following values in the comments (before reading on):

1. integer greater than 2
2. integer greater than 3
3. integer between 0 and 2
4. today's opponent
5. integer between 2 and
6. overmatched third-pair-quality Flyers defenseman playing top-4 minutes
7. star forward on the other team who was in a slump entering today's game
8. synonym for "bad"
9. number between 800 and 900
10. any sentence in the English language, translated into Russian
11. number smaller than 12
12. grisly bottom-6 veteran Flyers forward who likely figures to have no future on the team beyond this season
13. large object
14. young top-6 Flyers forward who is awesome even though for some reason lots of people seems to be annoyed at him this year
15. very large number
16. answer for #15, minus one
17. any Flyers player
18. either the word "upper" or the word "lower"
19. any number up to 48

Now, plug them into the following, and congrats, you've written today's recap!

The Flyers lost today for the _[1]_th straight game, suffering a _[2]_-_[3]_ defeat at the hands of the _[4]_. It was a deserved loss, and outside of a five-minute or so burst in the first period, they looked fairly uncompetitive throughout the contest despite trailing and/or being tied for most of it.

The game featured _[5]_ goals against that came in large part thanks to Flyers defensive breakdowns. On one of them, _[6]_ got thoroughly beaten to the puck by _[7]_, who proceeded to beat Ilya Bryzgalov and score a goal. The game-winner was scored in the third period in a similar fashion. They also let in a breakaway goal on the penalty kill, which is _[8]_.

Bryzgalov played OK and nothing more, finishing with an in-game save percentage of _[9]_. He probably should've played better, but he's not the only reason why they lost. After the game, he told reporters that "_[10]_", setting off a local and national media firestorm about how bad of a human being he is.

Sean Couturier only played _[10]_ minutes, while _[12]_ played almost three more minutes than Coots did, leading most Flyers fans to throw _[13]_s at their walls.

Not everything was awful, though. _[14]_ scored a goal, continuing his excellent season as one of the only bright spots on the team. But really that's about it.

The game was televised nationally because for some reason that happens every game even though the Flyers aren't good this year. Thanks, Ed Snider. Naturally, Pierre McGuire made _[15]_ references to every player's former junior and/or NCAA team, and _[16]_ references to Sidney Crosby, which was kind of weird because he wasn't playing in the game but hey whatever.

Oh, and _[17]_ got injured with an _[18]_-body injury. He'll probably be out forever because Flyers.

After today's loss, there are _[19]_ games left on the schedule, or, in other words, _[19]_ too many. But they'll get back at it in two days. We have no idea how that game will go, though, because as they always say, no two games are quite the same.

If you can't tell, we're not too optimistic at this point. Go ahead, the Flyers. Win today and prove me wrong.

But don't worry, just in case they do, we've got a recap for a win as well:

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Crap. We probably should update that script, Travis.

Anyways, as for the actual hockey game now that I'm done trying and failing to be funny...neither of these teams is very good, both virtually tied with one another for 11th and 12th in the Eastern Conference standings. Winner will move ahead of the other one, loser will stay behind. Which, depending on if you're rooting for wins or losses at this point, is either a good or a bad thing.

Not a ton to say about the Sabres. They have Laviolette's favorite, Steve Ott, and he's actually done a decent job for them. But really their season's just been rotten (kinda like ours!). Tyler Myers just got hurt and he's done for the rest of the year. Old friend Ville Leino has spent almost the entire year being injured. Just about all they've got going for them is Thomas Vanek, who admittedly I absolutely love even though he seems to destroy us every time we play him. But yeah, not much to say. It's Buffalo.

As for our guys, that top line of Gagne-Giroux-Voracek actually looked alright the other night, so it'd be cool if they got some more time and success together today. On D, Luke Schenn and Kimmo Timonen were the top guys again the other day after a freak night with Erik Gustafsson and Kent Huskins being the team's top defensemen on Tuesday. Let's hope they hold up alright.

Oh, and Danny Briere will be in the lineup, returning from a concussion just in time to face his former team. No matter how you feel about him, he's probably good for a goal against these guys because he usually is.

Goalies are TBA as of my writing this, though the form recap says it's gonna be Bryzgalov so let's hope the form recap isn't lying.

Questions to Answer:

  1. Does anyone actually watch this game?
  2. Danny Briere back, against his old team. How's he look?
  3. Flyers are 0 for 13 on the PP in their last five games. How about today?
  4. How many faceoffs does Steve Ott win (I'll figure this one out solely by looking at, and does he lick anybody?
  5. Honestly, guys, these last three games have just been crappy. Poor effort, poor performance, poor results. Can we get a good showing in at least one of those categories today?

Gamethread up at 2:30. Do some Mad Libs in the meantime. Die by the Blade for the Sabres' side. Go Flyers.