Dudes this wasn't even on the ticket plan when you put in for that package! The Eastern Conference All-Stars are coming to the Wells Fargo Center for a regular season game against the Flyers!
Yes, that's a bit of a joke, but so is the current rostering of the NHL All-Star Game starters, which is decided by whichever franchise's fans most get into stuff-the-ballot-box mode in a given holiday season. This year's winners? The Ottawa Senators, who are hosting the game. Four Sens were voted in as Eastern Conference Starters—Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson, and Milan Michalek. At least the game doesn't decide anything that matters, unlike another North American sport.
While they don't all deserve to be starters (none of the forwards are even in the NHL's top 12 in scoring), this overall Senators team is nothing for a short-handed Flyers side to sneeze at.
Ottawa sits three points behind the Flyers in the current Eastern Conference standings, one point ahead of the Penguins. It's way early for table watching in hockey, but this is just to say, they're hanging in there. They've also played four more games than the Flyers, so we can expect to see some adjustment to that gap, hopefully beginning today (although it obviously won't affect the GP aspect).
The Sens have been scoring at a decent clip, averaging three goals per game, but they're letting up even more and are currently near the bottom in goals against. Only the Carolina Hurricanes have allowed more goals this season.
Line Brawl Remembered, Always in Our Hearts
Matchups against the Senators are often constitute one of the more fun non-divisional rivalries. Players come and go, but these teams find a way to keep hating each other. Will the afternoon crowd at the Well get to see some fireworks? If not today, maybe tomorrow, when these same teams faceoff again in Ottawa. Love back-to-backs…
Kimmo Timonen won't play, with that wrist injury keeping him sidelined temporarily. Life isn't quite as sweet without Kimmo patrolling the back end in every type of play, so some of the other blueliners are gonna need some step-up. Ottawa can certainly attack. Jaromir Jagr is also out, but thinks he'll return soon. I think we may just have to get used to him being in and out of the lineup. He's had groin issues for years, and he's not getting any younger.
UPDATE: CSNPhilly.com's Tim Panaccio tweeted "Timonen is here. NO soft cast. That means he is playing."
New (Temporary) G Line
Matt Read filled in admirably for Jagr last time out, and we know who the East's real top center is. He won't be sporting a Roman war helmet today. Never understood that logo for the Sens. History buff Ilya Bryzgalov would tell you that's closer to a centurion's get-up.
Can JVR stay hot as part of the Riemer-Schenner-Simmer line? Christ let's hope so, so everyone will stop acting like he's the biggest disappointment since their first sexual experience.
Zac Rinaldo, Sean Couturier, and Harry Z were on fire Thursday night. That kind of intensity from a quote unquote fourth line is a matchup nightmare for opposing teams, especially one as leaky as the Sens. With the Flyers a bit shorthanded today and a long weekend of hockey about to start, they'll need another deep performance.
Double-Dip at the Well?
Ain't got nothin to do all day and night? Well, for the first time this season, both of our indoor teams are playing home games today. The Flyers drop the puck at 1, and the Sixers—who put on one hell of a show last night—tip-off at 8. If you already have Flyers tickets, could be a fun day if you stick around the complex for the hoops game… Weather's pretty good for some tailgating in FDR, or just camp out inside McFadden's or Chickie's.