The Philadelphia Flyers return home to the Wells Fargo Center for the
first time in over a week this to take on the Minnesota Wild at 7 p.m. this evening.
For the Flyers, this will be their first game at home since defeating
Ottawa in overtime ten days prior. After splitting two of their last
four on the road, the team will play 11 of its next 15 at the Center, a
welcome change from playing that exact same stretch (11 of 15) away from Philadelphia in recent weeks.
The return to the friendly confines couldn't come any sooner for the
team, as Minnesota, thankfully, is just atrocious on the road.
How bad you ask? The Wild have not won a game away from the Xcel
Energy Center since defeating the Phoenix Coyotes on Dec. 10. The team
is 0-7-2 on the road over that stretch.
Even better for the Flyers, starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom is
expected back in net for the Wild after missing time with an illness.
Though that sentence may sound somewhat surprising given Backstrom's
resume as one of the better goaltenders in the league, he has struggled
against the Orange & Black. In four career games against
Philadelphia, Backstrom sports a 1-3-0 record and 3.72 GAA. Should he
not be able to go, backup Josh Harding will be between the pipes.
Harding, who has had his struggles of late, was plenty solid in his last
start against the St. Louis Blues, stopping 47 of 49 shots in his
team's 3-2 overtime loss.
One member of the Wild who will not be returning to the lineup is
captain Mikko Koivu. Koivu is expected to miss the next two weeks with
an upper-body injury, an ailment that could open up a spot on the
NHL All-Star roster for Flyer Scott Hartnell.
Also, be on the lookout for the return of former Flyer Darroll Powe,
who will be making his first trip back to the Wells Fargo Center since
being swapped for a third round pick this past summer as part of Paul
Holgren's massive roster overhaul.
Puck drop, again, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Ilya Bryzgalov is expected in goal for the Flyers since he's the No. 1 and Laviolette doesn't believe
in numbers and some other stuff.
See you post-game.