Image courtesy of Amy Irvin of 38Photography.
The Philadelphia Flyers resume their regular season schedule this week with home games against the San Jose Sharks and New York Rangers. Kimmo Timonen won a bronze medal with team Finland in the Olympic tournament, while the other Flyer Olympians failed to place. Team Canada took home the gold medal in a 3-0 victory over Sweden.
None of the Flyers players who were invited to Sochi were injured during the tournament, and hopefully the break did some good for the guys who were banged up.
San Jose Sharks on 02.27.2014 at 7:00 PM in Philadelphia
The San Jose Sharks are currently in second place in the Pacific Division with 80 points. The Flyers won the only other game between the two clubs this season by a score of 5-2 in San Jose. Mark Streit opened the scoring in that game, as Matt Read, Michael Raffl, Claude Giroux, and Jake Voracek also scored for Philadelphia. Matt Nieto scored both goals for the Sharks.
The Sharks are a deep team at forward and are led by Joe Thornton who has 56 points (eight goals. 48 assists). Joe Pavelski is not far behind with 54 points (29 goals, 25 assists), while Patrick Marleau has garnered 50 points (23 goals, 27 assists). Logan Couture has 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) on the year and both Brent Burns (14 goals, 16 assists) and Tommy Wingels (12 goals, 18 assists) each have 30 points for San Jose.
Antii Niemi was chased from the crease in the last game between these two teams as he allowed four goals on 23 shots. Niemi is 29-12-6 on the season, with a 2.39 goals against average, a .912 save percentage, and two shutouts. His backup, Alex Stalock, has an 8-4-0 record, with a 1.67 goals against average, a .938 save percentage, and two shutouts as well.
The Flyers will need to bring the same type of tenacity they did in the last contest between these teams and if they do, they may be able to gain another two points in the standings.
New York Rangers on 03.01.2014 at 1:00 PM in Philadelphia
The New York Rangers took the last game against the Flyers 4-1 in the season series to even the score at one game apiece. New York received goals from Daniel Carcillo, Rick Nash, Derick Brassard, and Chris Kreider, while Mark Streit scored the lone goal for Philadelphia. In the first game between these teams, the Flyers won a 2-1 decision as they got goals from Matt Read and Braydon Coburn, while Brad Richards tallied for the Rangers.
The leading scorer for the Rangers, Mats Zuccarello, was injured (hand) in Sochi and will not participate in this game. He has 43 points (15 goals, 28 assists). Brad Richards has 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists), Derek Stepan has 35 points (10 goals, 25 assists), while Derick Brassard has 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) and both defenseman Ryan McDonagh (eight goals, 22 assists) and Chris Kreider (13 goals 17 assists) have 30 points on the year.
In net, Henrik Lundqvist has tended the net most of the time for New York and he has gone 22-18-3, with a 2.44 goals against average, a .918 save percentage, and three shutouts to his credit. His backup, Cam Talbot, is 10-5-0, with a 1.79 goals against average, a .935 save percentage, and two shutouts on the season.
To win this game, the Flyers will need to beat Lundqvist and keep the Rangers from striking quickly as they have done in the past.