Flyers-Canadiens: 5 things you need to know

Flyers-Canadiens: 5 things you need to know

The Flyers' discuss their newfound resiliency

January 8, 2014, 10:30 am
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After a successful six-game road trip, the Flyers (22-17-4) return to the Wells Fargo Center for the first time since Dec. 23, a 16-day layoff, to host the Canadiens (25-14-5) on Wednesday.

Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. (CSN).

Here are five things you need to know:

1. On fire
Since losing 7-2 to the Blackhawks on Dec. 11, the Flyers have been on fire.

And it all started against the Canadiens with a 2-1 win in South Philadelphia on Dec. 12.

Returning home after a miserable six-game Midwest trip, the orange and black scrapped out the victory. It wasn't pretty, but the Flyers came away with a much-needed two points.

Since beating Montreal, the Flyers have won nine of 12 games (9-2-1), scored 42 goals (3.82 goals per game), and climbed into the second spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Ten of their next 11 games come against Eastern Conference teams, five of which are Metro opponents, so this stretch will be huge for playoff positioning.

Of course, there are still 39 games to be played but it's the second half. Playoff hockey will be here before we know it.

The Flyers are playing their best hockey right now and deserve all the credit for battling their way into contention.

But there's still a lot of hockey left and it'll be easy to get distracted tonight having not played a home game in 16 days.

Staying focused on the prize (two points) on their own ice will be integral.

2. Struggling star
As a team, the Flyers are hot and have several players racking up points, but one particular player that's struggling is Vinny Lecavalier.

Lecavalier, 33, hasn't been the same player since coming back from a non-displaced back fracture on Dec. 21. He's in the midst of a 10-game goalless drought and has just two in his last 17 games.

The biggest issue at hand: Where does he fit on the roster?

Before suffering the back injury, Lecavalier was centering Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. The injury forced Schenn into the middle, a position where he's more comfortable.

Schenn's been playing with Simmonds and Scott Hartnell, and the line's been super productive (combined 32 points in 12 games). Craig Berube can't mess with the that chemistry.

A natural center, Lecavalier has played wing on the Flyers' third line. Problem is, he's not very effective at wing. 

The Flyers have plenty of centers: Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Lecavalier, Schenn, Adam Hall, and Chris VandeVelde.

In hockey, it's often said you can never have too many centers.

Maybe you can.

3. Puzzling price
Carey Price hates playing in Philly.

The 26-year-old has lost six straight at the Wells Fargo Center and since Nov. 25, 2011, he's 1-5-0 with a 3.58 goals against average vs. the Flyers overall.

While he's struggled in the last few years against the Flyers, Price has decent overall numbers against the club and has allowed only three goals in two games this year.

Overall, Price is 8-9-0 with a 2.67 GAA and .916 save percentage against the orange and black. This season, Price is 20-11-4 with a 2.22 GAA and .928 save percentage.

On Tuesday, Price was one of eight Canadiens named to an Olympic roster. He'll join teammate P.K. Subban on Team Canada.

4. Block party
Montreal struggles to score goals -- 21st in the league, averaging 2.52 goals per game.

But in every other area, the Canadiens are a well-rounded team. They allow the fourth fewest goals per game (2.27), have the fourth-best penalty kill unit (85.9 percent) and ninth-ranked power play (20.1 percent).

A lot of that (other than the PP) can be credited to blocking shots, as no other team blocks more than the Habs (856).

Four defensemen have at least 80 blocks: Josh Gorges (121), Andrei Markov (101), Raphael Diaz (93), and Subban (80).

The Flyers? They have one player with more than 56: Nicklas Grossmann, who has 105.

For the Flyers, it won't be hard to get shots on net, as the Habs give up 30.2 shots per game. But quality shots is what will matter.

5. This and that

• It's been 61 days since the Flyers last lost at home. They have a nine-game home win streak.

• Nineteen of the Flyers' last 28 games have been played on the road (18-7-3), while 10 of their final 17 games before the Olympic break (Feb. 9-25) are in South Philly.

• Hartnell has an eight-game point streak, extending it last night with a third-period goal.

• Montreal forward Alex Galchenyuk will miss six weeks with a broken hand.

• Max Pacioretty, who leads the Habs with 19 goals, has six points in his last four games vs. the Flyers.

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