Two Junes ago, the Chicago Blackhawks tore us to pieces by lifting the Stanley Cup on the Flyers' home ice. As much as we don't mind their fans being denied the pleasure of watching that live, it still burns that they got to celebrate in our barn, probably treating the locker room like a frat house at a school you didn't go to.
They return tonight, ushering in the post-Winter Classic portion of the season, and with no semblance of a soft landing. The Blackhawks are currently second in the Western Conference with 52 points, and they're probably pissed off that they lost to the Oilers on Monday.
After the game, we're treated to the final installment of HBO's 24/7. And I do mean treated, because despite knowing how it ends, we also know that's only going to be a small portion of the show we've seen to be pretty great from start to finish. A closer look at the Flyers' night ahead below.
Bryz Is Back to Exorcise His Rights
Michael Leighton's five-hole may not currently be on the Flyers roster (though it's not geographically far away this weekend either), but the ghost of that goal continues to drift along with the team. It was here before Leighton, and we're not sure it's ever leaving. It was seen most recently when sniper extraordinaire Mike Rupp somehow slipped a poorly angled shot under Sergei Bobrovsky's armpit to tie the Winter Classic.
Now that the true regular season has resumed, Peter Laviolette is going back to the goalie tasked with exorcising the ghost before season's end. Hopefully sooner. Hopefully starting tonight. Ilya Bryzgalov is your Peter Venkman.
With Jaromir Jagr shelved due to a groin strain, Matt Read took the first line reps at practice and will get a chance to be in some Claude Giroux highlights tonight. Makes perfect sense given that the rookie has found quite a few of his own already this season. Read's earned the shot while the Czech star gets a rest.
Dan Carcillo is one Blackhawk who won't come out of the tunnel with his team tonight. Definition of a prior offender, he's been handed a seven-game suspension for his hit on Edmonton's Tom Gilbert. Honestly, the timing sucks. We were kind of hoping to see what the thrill of facing his former fans would do to his PIM tendencies...
Ray Emery wasn't here long, and was hurt while he was, with the injury feared to be career-threatening. But, surprisingly enough, he became somewhat well-liked among the fanbase. So aside from tonight, when he'll start in net for the Blackhawks, Emery probably still has quite a few fans in Philly and may even get some cheers when he's announced.
We'd have a lot more to look forward to after the game if the Flyers had won the Winter Classic, obv… But the rest of Winter Classic Weekend was a total win, and a lot of the footage will likely bring us a little closer to that. Plus, we'll have the Penguins win… But that's it for on-ice joys, as the Flyers haven't put more than one in the win column since the last airing.