Mark Streit attempts to keep the puck in the zone the puck in along the boards. Image c/o Amy Irvin of 38Photography.
The Philadelphia Flyers won two of three games last week, both wins coming by way of Steve Mason shutouts. Mason turned away 33 shots against an injury riddled Detroit Red Wings squad and made 35 stops to blank the Los Angeles Kings who have scored just three goals over their last six games. The Flyers are in # place with 60 points.
Some bright spots over the past week were Claude Giroux netting five points, bringing him to 52 on the season, Wayne Simmonds’ two-point performance yesterday, and Scott Hartnell adding four points as he now has 34 on the year.
The Orange and Black have three games this week as they wrap up their three game California swing against the San Jose Sharks before returning to the familiar confines of the Wells Fargo Center to face the Colorado Avalanche and the Calgary Flames before the Olympic break.
San Jose Sharks on 02.03.2014 at 10:30 PM in San Jose
The San Jose Sharks currently sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 76 points. 20 of their 35 wins on the year have come in the Shark Tank and they have only not gained points in three home games this season. The Sharks are 7-3-0 in their last 10, and snapped a three-game skid with a win in the shootout over Chicago last night. San Jose has a fairly inefficient power play that has converted 17.8% of the time, but their penalty kill is clicking along at 83.6% which is good enough for ninth overall. This will be the first meeting of the season between the two clubs.
The Sharks have a lot of weapons offensively beginning with team leader and captain Joe Thornton who has 47 assists and 55 points (eight goals). Joe Pavelski has scored a team-high 29 goals and is right there with Thornton as he has 54 points (25 assists). Patrick Marleau has 49 points (22 goals, 27 assists) and defenseman-turned-power-forward Brent Burns has 29 points in 42 games (14 goals, 15 assists). Logan Couture has 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 43 games, but has yet to return from a hand injury which has sidelined him for most of January.
In net, Antti Niemi has been the regular starter, going 28-11-6 and has a .913 save percentage, a 2.38 goals against average, and two shutouts to his credit. His backup, Alex Stalock, is 7-4-0 with a stellar .939 save percentage, a 1.69 goals against average, and two shutouts to his credit.
Colorado Avalanche on 02.06.2014 at 7:00 PM in Philadelphia
The Colorado Avalanche won the first meeting between these two teams by a score of 2-1 back at the beginning of January. Colorado received goals from Jamie McGinn and Ryan O’Reilly while Wayne Simmonds scored for Philadelphia. Semyon Varlamov was on another planet as he stopped 29 of 30 shots including all nine shots fired his way when the Flyers were on the power play. The Avs are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games, have scored 16 goals over their last three contests, and are currently in third place in the Central Division with 75 points. The Avalanche have the 13th ranked power play with a 19.4% success rate and the 14th ranked penalty kill with an 81.4% kill rate.
In terms of offense, Matt Duchene has a team-high 30 assists and 47 points (17 goals) while 2013 1st overall draft choice Nathan Mackinnon and Ryan O’Reilly are tied for the team lead in goals with 20 apiece. Mackinnon has 40 points (20 assists) and O’Reilly has 39 points (19 assists). Team captain Gabriel Landeskog had 43 points (27 assists, 16 points) while Paul Stastny (16 goals, 23 assists) has 39 points. Stastny is listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury.
Varlamov outdueled Steve Mason in the last game and has been just as good in most of his starts this season. He currently owns a 28-9-5 record, a .925 save percentage, a 2.43 goals against average, and one shutout to his credit. His backup, Jean-Sebastien Giguere is 7-4-0 with a .913 save percentage, a 2.59 goals against average, and two shutouts.
Calgary Flames on 02.08.2014 at 1:00 PM in Philadelphia
The Calgary Flames are seven five points out of last place in both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference. They are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, and have won five straight games, scoring 21 goals on their current winning streak. The Flames have a brutal power play that sits in 27th overall with a 14.3% conversion rate and a subpar penalty kill which is 21st in the NHL and has killed 80.3% of man-down situations. In the first game between Philadelphia and Calgary, the Orange and Black won 4-1. Mark Streit, Brayden Schenn, Scott Hartnell, and Braydon Coburn scored for the Flyers while rookie Sean Monahan potted the lone goal for the Flames. Wayne Simmonds had two assists in the game, while Brayden Schenn had a three-point night and Ray Emery stopped 23 of 24 shots for his fourth win of the season.
Jiri Hudler leads the Flames in both points and assists, with 42 and 28 respectively (14 goals). Defenseman Mark Giordano is second on the team in points with 28 (nine goals, 19 assists) in just 36 games while Mikael Backlund has 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists).
In net, Karri Ramo and Reto Berra have split time. Berra took the loss against the Flyers and is 7-14-2 with a .891 save percentage and a 3.20 goals against average. Karri Ramo has received four more starts than Berra, going 11-10-4 with a .908 save percentage, a 2.66 goals against average, and one shutout this season.