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Flyers at Ducks preview: Coming back from a gut punch

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The Flyers lost last night in more or less the most demoralizing way possible, but they'll have to try and shake that off quickly as they face a very good Anaheim team tonight.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Last night the Flyers played a hockey game in San Jose. And it ... wasn't all bad! Some genuinely good developments came from that outing, even considering the fact that San Jose is slumping a little bit this year. The Flyers got out to a really strong start, playing their best period of hockey in a while in the first period, and despite letting that lead up in the second they hung with the Sharks for just about the whole 60 minutes of the game.

"Just about" being the operative phrase there, though. 59 minutes and 49 seconds is "just about" 60 minutes, right?

It's tough to pull yourself back up after taking a loss like the Flyers did last night, missing out on at least one point by giving up a game-winning goal with 11 seconds on the clock. It's really tough to do that when that loss brings you to a 1-9-1 slump and when you've now lost eight straight games on the road.

And it's even tougher to get it together when you've got to follow that kind of a loss up by playing again the very next night, after playing a game that ended around 1:00 a.m. Eastern time and instantly turning around to fly from NorCal to SoCal to face the team that's currently tied for the lead in points in the Western Conference.

We'll leave it at this: when this quote is the best you're hearing out of the locker room ...

... you have to imagine these guys are just not feeling it right now.

So tonight will be fun, then!

In seriousness, who knows. Maybe they come out dejected and Anaheim walks all over them. Maybe they come out pissed and play their tails off against a tough opponent. It's impossible to say.

We're currently still in the dark regarding what exactly the lineup is going to look like tonight. In the past three games, we've seen Luke Schenn, Andrew MacDonald, and then Michael Del Zotto take turns in the press box, in that order. As for the forwards, Chris VandeVelde and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare both had their stints watching the game before yesterday's big news that Vincent Lecavalier would get a chance to watch from the upper level against San Jose.

It seems like the only people who are safe at this point are the team's eight top forwards (and also, for whatever reason, Zac Rinaldo). With no word as of this writing on who will sit tonight, we could see the same thing as last night or we could see something new entirely. Craig Berube is clearly trying to motivate his team by making examples of certain players. We'll leave it up to you to decide if that's working.

No word on who's in net for the Flyers yet, but with the back-to-back, Ray Emery should get the nod against one of his numerous former teams.

The Flyers played Anaheim back in October while they were in the middle of another cold streak, this one being their first of the season as they were 0-2-1 at that point. It was actually a pretty solid game from the Flyers, who managed to tie it up late before losing in a shootout. Anaheim has continued doing good things since then, and at 17-7-1 they're currently atop the Pacific and Western Conference standings.

Oh, and they brought some guy named Ilya Bryzgalov in today on a tryout basis due to injuries to almost all of their goalies. Thank God they didn't do this yesterday, because with the way things have been going of late, does anyone doubt that had Bryz been available for tonight's game, he'd have started and shut the Flyers out? Think we dodged that bullet.

But yeah, the Ducks are good. The big names there are still at the top, with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry humming along at near-point-per-game paces, but they've got good players and scoring threats on each of their four lines. Defensively, they're without a number of players, including top d-man Francois Beauchemin, but there's still plenty of good, young, talent on their blue line. Frederik Andersen is likely to be in net for them, and he's had a good go in his second NHL season with a save percentage of .917 in 20 starts.

So the conditions aren't ripe for a turnaround tonight. But crazier things have happened. Game is on TCN at 10:30 p.m. ET, so just in case you didn't love yesterday's late start enough, we get an extra half-hour to wait tonight. Get your naps in. And let's hope no one gets the mumps because apparently that's a thing in Anaheim right now. Go Flyers.