They may currently own a six-game winning streak against the
Flyers dating back to last year’s playoffs, but if ever there was a time to
catch a home-and-home with the Devils, it’s now. New Jersey has been reeling ever
since they last met the Bullies, posting a 3-7-2 record after February 15, and
losing tons of ground in the Atlantic Division in the process.
It gets worse. Only one of the Devils’ three wins during
that stretch was settled without going to a shootout. And of the three teams
they defeated, two – the Buffalo Sabres and the Washington Capitals – came
against some of the worst teams in the East.
A big part of the problem has been the absence of Marty
Brodeur, who has been missing for the past nine games with a back injury. In
that period of time, New Jersey is surrendering 3.89 goals against per game.
Of course, it may seem like an opportune time to come across
these Devils. It also seemed like an opportune time to break the losing streak
when the Flyers took a 3-1 first-period lead in Newark last month. Instead,
they fell apart in the final two frames – sound familiar? – going down by a
final of 5-3.
Still, the club is looking at these games as must-win, and
the numbers are in their favor. Johan Hedberg will be in goal, along with his
4-7-2 record, .879 save percentage, and 2.97 goals against average. Plus,
Jersey’s offense hasn’t exactly been on track either, currently ranked 23rd
in the NHL with 2.42 goals per game. This club is very beatable right now.
But then the Flyers are in a vulnerable state themselves,
and looking at these games like they are must-win. Maybe, probably they are. The
time for talking about the postseason is over. It’s do or die, just as Ilya
We’ll find out what this team is made of soon enough. That
is if we haven’t already.
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