After a week off for the All-Star Game and a mind-numbing shutout in Tampa, the Flyers have returned home for a four-game stand hosting the Predators, Stars, Hurricanes, and Kings. All are pretty solid teams, with the Preds and Stars occupying the fourth and third seeds in the Western Conference and the Hurricanes and Kings knocking on the eighth-seed door.
Nashville is coming off of three straight losses spanning over the break. Two of those came against the Flames, with the second being a 3-2 shootout L. In those three losses, they've scored only four total goals, which is in keeping with their overall low output for the season (2.5 GPG, 25th in the NHL). But Pekka Rinne has been a stingy bugger in net for them, second to only Tim Thomas in both GAA (2.10) and save percentage (.929).
Just what the Flyers needed coming off a shutout to Dwayne Roloson, right? A date with Pekka Rinne? Wrong! Rinne will sit tonight... Goaltending matchup and more, including a video on Bobby Clarke's banner night, below.
Anders Lindback will start in net for the Predators, and perhaps coming as a surprise to many Flyers fans, Sergei Bobrovsky will get a chance to wipe away a forgettable three-goal first period against the Lightning. The only thing we've come to expect from Peter Laviolette's goalie carousel is that he'll usually start the guy who's "hottest." After a below-average if also somewhat unlucky 20 minutes for Bob, the Flyers got some solid play from Brian Boucher.
Maybe Lavvy wants to see how the kid responds to getting the hook. Maybe he wants to see if one of these guys will take over the job now that the second (less than) half has started. Who knows.
More important than who is in net is whether the Flyers will be able to generate more pressure around Lindback, something they failed to do to Roloson. They are usually very good at camping out, crossing with timely screens, and especially bearing down on the net two at a time, with a pass finding a forward's tape within a foot or two of the crease. Looking through Roloson's big saves in the NHL.com video console, most weren't really anything too special, with little in the way of chaos around his crease.
Lindback is a 6'6 rookie out of Sweden, but he's currently 10-4-2 with two shutouts, handling his workload fairly well. Like Bob, he'll also be looking to put his last start behind him, having been shelled for six goals in Chicago two weeks ago.
Before the game, the Flyers will give Bobby Clarke his banner from the Spectrum, which is quite literally in ruins now. If ever anyone deserved the honor of a number hanging in the rafters, it's Clarkie.