Preview of Tonight’s Action
The Flyers will be taking on the New Jersey Devils tonight at 7PM at the Wells Fargo Center. Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t watch it. If we’ve learned anything from the past few seasons worth of Flyers/Devils contests, it’s that they will put you to sleep faster than the sweet song of a wild Jigglypuff.
In seriousness, with the Devils entering the season under new coach John Hynes, some thought that we might see a slight departure from the low-event play that the Devils practiced under former coach Peter DeBoer. So far this season, we have not. The Devils have played the lowest Corsi Pace/60 game (83.7 events per 60) in the league by a huge margin of over 15. They’ve attempted less shots than any other team while allowing less than any other team at the same time.
Yesterday, I wrote about how the Flyers have been playing pretty high event hockey so far this season. So basically, here is how tonight’s game should be viewed: One team is fighting the valiant battle for fun hockey, goals and action. Their opponent seeks to make hockey boring and unenjoyable for everyone by doing things like playing defense competently and being tough in the neutral zone. It’s pretty much a no brainer who you should be rooting for here.
The Devils have jumped out to a respectable 4-4-1 start, mostly on the heels of stellar play from Mike Cammalleri and Adam Henrique. New captain Andy Greene remains one of the most underrated defensive defensemen in the league and will certainly give the Flyers fits in the neutral zone.
For the Flyers, Vincent Lecavalier will be making his triumphant (?) return to the lineup for the first time this season. With Sean Couturier still out because of a concussion and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare out with a leg injury, Lecavalier will play on Chris Vandevelde’s left wing tonight. After a couple brutal defensive mistakes against Buffalo, Radko Gudas will return to the press box tonight in favor of Brandon Manning. Nick Schultz has also been separated from Mark Streit and will play alongside Yevgeny Medvedev: a move that will hopefully help to hide some of the disasterous play we’ve seen from him so far. Here is the Flyers projected lineup, via Dave Isaac:
Raffl – Giroux -Voracek
Read – Gagner – Simmonds
Umberger – Laughton – Schenn
Lecavalier – VandeVelde – White
Del Zotto – Streit
Schultz – Medvedev
Manning – Schenn
Puck drops at 7PM. Go Flyers. Go fun hockey. Slow hockey is bad.