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Flyers vs. Jets preview: Unleash the Zepp?

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The Flyers face off against the Winnipeg Jets tonight. It's the second night of a back-to-back. Steve Mason is hurt. So...unleash the Zepp?

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Flyers hope to continue their pretty decent play from yesterday as they take on the Jets tonight in Winnipeg. However, in order to get the win, they just might have to call on the services of an unfamiliar face.

The Flyers started off this weekend on pretty high note, handily beating the Toronto Maple Leafs despite the unfortunate news that Steve Mason's back has passed away. Of course, Ray Emery is a solid enough backup, so that's not exactly a surprise.

However, given the way goalies tend to perform when playing back-to-back games and the fact that Emery isn't exactly a world class goaltender, the Flyers may look to Robert Zepp to make his first career NHL start tonight.

Now, you may be asking why the Flyers would want to (or probably should) start a guy who is 33 years old and has thus far played in only second and third tier leagues. That's a good question, for sure, but there's two key facts that could lead to Zepp's debut tonight.

First off, as Allison pointed out yesterday, Zepp has put up decent enough stats in Lehigh Valley. He's not taking the world by storm, but you certainly wouldn't rank him as an absolutely terrible option. Secondly, and more importantly, the Flyers have indicated that they have absolutely no qualms about letting Zepp play. Given that this coaching staff is wont to make wacky decisions, I could totally see this relatively tame lineup change happen.

But, again, enough about the damn goaltending.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't surprised at where the Jets currently rank in the standings. For being a team that is laughed at as having a horribly passive GM and questionable coaching, I thought they would be an absolute dumpster fire. Turns out they're just solidly mediocre. They currently sit at fourth in the Central Division, which, given how tough the competition is out there, is not that bad.

There's not really any stand out stars on the team, per se. I'm actually a little shocked at how bad of a year it seems Evander Kane is having (maybe putting money up to your face for a picture makes you bad at hockey, I don't know). Their current leading scorer is Andrew Ladd, who is the personification of white bread. Just an all around not too flashy team that gets decent, but not really good enough results.

As a side note, I hate the Winnipeg Jets more than most teams in the NHL. Why? Well, (and keep in mind I'm saying this without looking at stats) it seems that every single time these teams face each other, the scoring keeps coming and coming and coming and then hey, the Flyers lose 9-8. I remember this one game back in 2010-2011 when Ville Leino scored a hat trick and then due to the same Ville Leino making a blind pass at the blueline, the then-Atlanta Thrashers ended up winning the game like 101-100. It's infuriating.

Some other things to note:

  • Zac Rinaldo left last night's game with an upper body injury. There's no word on whether or not he will return tonight, but given how Craig Berube seems to never want him to not play, I wouldn't be surprised to see him fight through the injury.
  • Ondrej Pavelec will probably get the start tonight for the Jets. Pavelec has got to be one of the most polarizing goaltenders in the league -- the coaches/GMs seem to think he's good when he's actually objectively terrible. Hopefully, he'll be objectively terrible tonight.
  • Fun fact: Robert Zepp was originally drafted in 1999 by the Atlanta Thrashers. Tonight, Zepp gets his chance to prove his old team WHAT THEY ARE MISSING, DAMNIT.
  • Jake Voracek and Claude Giroux basically purchased the Toronto Maple Leafs last night. They should do that to the Jets tonight.

Philadelphia Flyers at Winnipeg Jets

9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT

MTS Center | Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

In Philly: TCN Philly, 97.5 The Fanatic
In Canada: TSN3
Everywhere else: NHL Center Ice, NHL GameCenter Live