It's the first weekend of the season, so by now, you all know what that means: we're freaking out about a losing streak that may leave the Flyers playing catch-up from the outset. A tradition as old as time itself!
... or, at least, a tradition that's two years old. Same thing, basically.
But in any case, yes, the Flyers would assuredly like to avoid dropping into an 0-3 hole to begin the season for the third straight year, for any number of reasons. The obvious ones (winning games is good and losing them is bad), the narrative-based ones (can the Flyers afford to start this year the same way they did last year?!?), and the forward-looking ones (the Flyers' schedule the rest of the way in October is brutal and picking up wins isn't going to get much easier any time soon). Basically, a win would be nice.
It won't be an easy one, though. The Montreal Canadiens played the same back-to-back to open up the season that the Flyers did, except they managed to go from Toronto to Washington and pick up one-goal wins in both places. Neither one was real pretty -- the shootout win over Washington, in particular, was probably not one that le bleu, blanc et rouge will be writing home about in terms of style -- but you take wins how you can get them, and they've got them.
Like the Flyers, the Canadiens had one high-scoring affair and one 2-1 contest in their first two games. Head coach Michel Therrien has gone ahead and changed up their forward lines going into the game -- not something you'll often see a team do after two wins, but again, it seems like the Habs aren't thrilled with where their play is at despite the good start record-wise. Tomas Plekanec is currently their leading scorer and has three of the team's five goals, so let's keep an eye on him, OK? Not an easy task given that there's enviable forward depth on that Montreal roster, though.
For the Flyers, who found some offensive success in the later part of Thursday's loss to New Jersey, the plan apparently will be to stick with those lines that they changed to mid-game. They look as such:
Berube goes with his changed lines from second period. 12-28-93; 10-40-17; 24-14-18; 36-78-42— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) October 11, 2014
Meaning that the Brayden Schenn at top-line left-wing experiement has been unceremoniously put on hiatus after two games. Schenn finds himself back on a line with Vincent Lecavalier and Wayne Simmonds. Berube said he liked how the line played together on Thursday, and they did play well. Still, I'm concerned by the fact that, for the most part, that group of players was really bad together last year, but I guess that's all in the past now. Elsewhere, we'll see R.J. Umberger taking his turn on the shutdown line with Sean Couturier and Matt Read, Michael Raffl getting another shot at the top-line winger role, and the fourth line staying the same.
Defense will presumably be the same as they were last game. Insofar as you can call what happened last game "defense", at least. But yes, the lineup should be the same.
And per the team, Ray Emery will make his season debut tonight in net. Hopefully PK Subban doesn't fart on him.
Game time/TV info below. Eyes on the Prize for Canadien/Canadian stuff. Go Flyers.
Montreal Canadiens at Philadelphia Flyers
7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT
Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia
In Philly: CSN Philly, 97.5 The Fanatic, SiriusXM
In Montreal: TVA, City SiriusXM
Everywhere else: NHL Center Ice or GameCenter Live