Fresh off a convincing win in New Jersey last night, the Canucks cross the Delaware to face the latest edition of the Broad Street Bullies. The Philadelphia Flyers host Vancouver in the second half of back-to-back games for the Canucks, where Roberto Luongo is expected to start again.
The Flyers have struggled of late, going 4-6 in their last 10 games, and have lost their last two. Their big off-season acquisition, Ray Emery, has had particular trouble lately, losing his last four starts. As a result, Brian Boucher is expected to get the start against the Canucks tonight.
The notion of Philadelphia being the Broad Street Bullies has returned again with the current line-up. The Flyers are the most penalized team in the league, on a per-game basis, giving up almost 18 minutes in penalties every game. Further, the Flyers penalty kill is not that great, coming in at 21st in the league at 77.4%. If the Canucks can get the Flyers chasing them early, the Flyers will be prone to taking penalties. With the Canucks having a very effective power play, this could be their secret to success tonight.
The Canucks need all the help they can muster, as they’ll be playing on consecutive nights and have not much success against the Flyers in the last 10 years. In their last 10 games against the Flyers, the Canucks are a mere 3-7. However, they are 3-3 in their last 6 games in Philadelphia. Interestingly, Roberto Luongo has never played against Philadelphia as a member of the Canucks. It will be interesting to see how Bobby Lou holds up to the physical, bruising play that the Flyers will certainly bring to tonight’s game.
The Canucks need to stay disciplined, but play hard and clear the crease as much as possible. They know the Flyers will take a ton of penalties, so the Canucks need to capitalize early. The Flyers are an abyssmal .222 when trailing after the 1st period – this means they don’t come back well in games.
Get on them early and take the opportunities when they come. Either way, it’s going to be a long, bruising night.