Ilya Bryzgalov will start in goal against Claude Giroux and the Flyers as they face the Edmonton Oilers. (Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com)
The Philadelphia Flyers return to action after the Christmas break and in the process are starting a six-game road trip that will take them through Canada and the West Coast.
The first of those six games is against an old foe. The Flyers are no stranger to the Edmonton Oilers – facing them one already this season – but Ilya Bryzgalov, the much-maligned goalie wearing the Orange and Black for the past two seasons is now in Edmonton, and he will get the start tonight.
The Flyers have a nine-game home winning streak but that gets put aside. On the road, the Flyers are just 6-9-4. Conversely, the Oilers struggle at home, playing to a 6-11-1 record.
Bryzgalov has played well in his brief eight game stint with the Oilers. Despite a 2-4-1 record, Bryzgalov has a 2.80 GAA and .915 save percentage.
The Flyers will send Steve Mason between the pipes. Mason is coming off a strong 4-1 win against Minnesota on Monday. He is 14-9-4 with a 2.35 GAA and .923 save percentage.
The Oilers have a host of young players that keep the game moving fast and can score at will. Taylor Hall leads those players with 33 points – 14 goals, 19 assists. Jordan Eberle is close behind with 31 points – 12 goals, 19 assists.
David Perron leads the team in goals with 15. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leads in assists with 20. Ales Hemsky, Nail Yakupov, Ryan Smyth and Sam Gagner are also strong scorers.
Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry and Andrew Ference lead Edmonton on the blue line.
The Flyers will likely focus on keeping the top line rolling. Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek are currently riding career-long point streaks. Voracek has 13 points over the last eight games while Giroux’s streak has reached seven. Giroux, who has 13 points in those seven games, has an assist in each game.
Wayne Simmonds (4) and Scott Hartnell (2) also have point streaks dating back before the Christmas break.
Both teams have almost identical offenses. There are weapons throughout the lineup and not a lot to show for either side – both teams average 2.5 goals per game. The area that separates the two teams is defense and goaltending. The Flyers allow an average of 2.7 goals per game, a total of 101 on the season.
101 is also the number of goals the Oilers have scored. However, they have also allowed 3.4 goals per game, a total of 134 on the season.
- Power Play: Flyers (18th, 8th on road), Oilers (16th, 9th at home)
- Penalty Kill: Flyers (11th, 15th on road), Oilers (19th, 14th at home)
- The Flyers defeated the Oilers, 4-2, on Nov. 9. The Flyers are 13-6-3 since that game.
- The Flyers last won in Edmonton on March 19, 2001. They are 0-3-1 in four games since.
Flyers scratches: Hal Gill, Jay Rosehill, Chris VandeVelde, Erik Gustafsson
Flyers Projected Lineup
Line 1: Michael Raffl-Claude Giroux-Jake Voracek
Line 2: Vincent Lecavalier-Brayden Schenn-Wayne Simmonds
Line 3: Matt Read-Sean Couturier-Steve Downie
Line 4: Scott Hartnell-Adam Hall-Zac Rinaldo
D-Pair 1: Kimmo Timonen-Braydon Coburn
D-Pair 2: Nick Grossmann-Mark Streit
D-Pair 3: Luke Schenn-Andrej Meszaros
Goalie: Steve Mason
Where to Watch
Radio: 93.3 WMMR