A home game against the Atlanta Thrashers
coming off of a solid road win at Pittsburgh with another road game
tomorrow in Jersey could be plenty challenging for the Flyers, who have
struggled against Atlanta recently. After the Thrashers won both of the
previous meetings between these teams in March, the three games don't
look quite as enticing as they did heading into the final full month of
the regular season. A clunker of a third period resulted in a big
Atlanta comeback and OT win in the first of the March matchups, which
was followed by a shootout loss in Atlanta five days later. Although
both games ended with a sympathy point, the Flyers lacked the ability to
finish off an inferior opponent, albeit one that was fighting for its
Tonight, the Thrashers trail the playoffs by 11 points and at least
three teams—a rather large hill to climb with only six games remaining.
They either need to play with a win-out mentality tonight, or they'll be
golfing before they know it. Will the Flyers match that intensity if
the Thrashers can conjure it?
A few more notes after the jump. Richie, Bob, Briere, and the President's Trophy...
•Atlanta has had a March not unlike the Flyers' own, trading wins for
losses and a fair amount of OT games. They're coming off a loss at
Montreal, but they haven't lost back-to-back games since the first and
third of the month.
•Chris Mason will be in net for Atlanta, facing presumed playoff
starter Sergei Bobrovsky, who is coming off of his third victory over
the Penguins this season and an impressive 37-save performance on Long
Island. Another confidence booster at home tonight wouldn't hurt.
•Glad to see the Briere line had a great game last time out,
reminding the Flyers' potential playoff opponents that they'll have
three (3) bona fide scoring lines to counter over a seven (7) game
series. Last time the Thrashers were in town, Ville Leino netted a hat
trick (pictured above, though it should be noted that Mason was only in
goal for the third, and of course Atlanta did still win that one).
•I just returned from some time out of town, where I was able to
mostly ignore the latest white noise over the Mike Richards
captaincy/strained media relations. I guess, like the goaltending
situation, we have little chance of hearing the end of this until the
Flyers hoist a Cup, but I'm not even holding out much hope for after
that either. My opinion? Nothing to see here.
•Vancouver can lock up the President's Trophy with a win tonight and a
Flyers loss. This would be the least effective motivational tool in
Peter Laviolette's arsenal tonight.
•It's Bill Barber's turn to be honored at home tonight, with his number banner from the Spectrum handed to him before the game.
•It's time to put this lousy Smarch weather behind us, ending a
dreary month with consecutive wins and looking ahead to what could be a
pretty amazing spring in Philly.