Morning Skate: Red Wings at Flyers
7:30p ET, Wells Fargo Center
TV: NBCSN, FS-D, CSN-PHI
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket // 1270 AM CBS Sports Radio
Fyers Blog: Broad Street Hockey
The Red Wings are hitting the road for a very, very important four game road trip. The Red Wings haven't won in Philadelphia since the Bronze Age but we have to find a way. A loss won't kill us, but it will energize the Flyers and put them right on our tails. Beating the Rangers set us up to gain some ground this weekend but then we blew it and lost to...the Maple Leafs? Really? Ugh. Anyway, the Flyers have two games in hand, but they do also have five back-to-backs to play yet this season compared to the Red Wings three. Things for the Flyers have really been clicking the past month, so it's up to us find that killer instinct and shut them down, and maybe we've found some hope in Mantha. Nobody is going to do us any favors, if we want to make the playoffs we have to win down the stretch.
A historical moment:
We'll always have 1997 and nobody can take that away from us. McCarty cruising towards the blue line with the Flyers defense giving him room, Sandstrom sends a pass up to McCarty who catches Mr. Flyers Defenseman staring at the puck, now he's in all alone with Hextall, Hextall freezes and McCarty scoooooooores!
Know the enemy:
The Flyers have a pair of dangerous goal scorers in Schenn and Simmonds, with a lot of help from Giroux and Voracek. However, Voracek was quoted as saying "not a chance" when asked if he would be playing so that's a small break for us. Wings need to keep an eye on Ghost Bear as well, he's by far the Flyers most dangerous defenseman. The Flyers have had to ride their goaltending a bit, but have really pulled it together both offensively and defensively to give their netminders some support (unlike some teams cough Red Wings cough). The Flyers powerplay is ok, but their penalty kill kind of stinks. On the other hand, watching the Red Wings powerplay and penalty kill is not unlike being subjected to scaphism so who cares what the Flyers' stats are.
The Coaching match-up:
Tonight the Jeff Blashill Bingo Wheel matches wits with NHL newcomer Dave Hakstol. There's something kind of Babcockian about Hakstol's relentless Canadian intensity and his love for gum. We all remember the Babcock glares, but the Flyers and their fans have been introduced to the Hakstol stare. Hakstol is the first head coach to go directly from the NCAA to the NHL since 1982, and it appears to have been a great move for the Flyers. He seems like the type of guy who can really pull off wearing socks with sandals while doing the Dad Squat in front of lawnmowers at Lowe's. I have to admit, I kind of have a coach crush.
Coach Fact: Hakstol played the accordion as a child.
I don't know what to say about the powerplay anymore. If the Flyers were smart they would take penalties the entire game. But now Mantha's here, so of course he will score and maybe even on the powerplay and probably the game winning goal and I would love nothing more than to gloat about it for the next week. Kronwall's injury shakes up an already ruffled defense, but he hasn't exactly been Mr. Reliable this season anyway. Datsyuk was a one man show against Toronto, but as we saw he can't do it all himself. Mathematically the playoff dream can't end tonight, but I'm not sure how much more our hearts can take. A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March. Are you superstitious? Any pregame rituals you want to share? Do whatever it takes, we must get these two points in regulation or else we will be cast into a furnace of hot takes and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
LET'S GO RED WINGS!
Game Day Prediction Contest
Would you like to predict the outcome of the game and potentially become internet famous? Well you're in luck, because here's your opportunity. Here's how it works.
Make your game predictions on the winning team, final score, and who the Wings player of the game will be. Enter the required information into the form below using the formats indicated in the questions. If you don't use those formats, your answers will be disregarded. All submissions are timestamped and will be accepted only until the official game start time. All other submissions after that will be disregarded. Only one submission per person, please. POTG will be determined by the collective of WiiM writers.
Each correct winning team prediction is worth 1 point. Each correct player of the game prediction is worth 2 points. Each correct final score prediction is worth 5 points. If you get all three correct you'll receive 15 points.