While the Flyers are losing as much as they win and struggling to score unless they have more men on the ice, the Predators seemingly always win and are getting plenty of goals with or without the power play.
Though separated by two points, the Nashville Predators and the Philadelphia Flyers have been much different teams of late heading into their matchup Thursday night.
The Predators are 5 for 13 on the power play during their current five-game winning streak and have outscored opponents 14-6 at even strength.
Mike Fisher has had the hot stick lately with five goals in three games for Nashville, which matched a club record with 11 wins in January and is a league best 13-2-0 since Dec. 27.
Philadelphia (29-14-6) lost three of five to close last month, limited to 13 goals in that span but still second in the NHL with 3.31 per game. However, seven of its last 11 goals have come on the power play.
The Flyers are two points worse than Nashville, due largely to a 9-7-3 stretch since a seven game win streak to open December had put them atop the Eastern Conference. Now they’re looking up to Boston and the Rangers in the East, while Nashville only trails Detroit in the West.
A big reason the Predators have surged up the standings is Rinne, who won his final nine starts before the All Star break and allowed no more than two goals in each. He may have been a bit rusty Tuesday, surrendering three goals in the first 22 minutes at Minnesota, but Nashville rallied from a three-goal deficit in the third period to win 5-4.
The goaltending in Philadelphia hasn’t been as steady. Ilya Bryzgalov has lost eight of his past 12 starts, posting a 3.24 goals against average. However, he’s allowed just one goal in three of four, winning twice in regulation and losing two shootouts.
Bryzgalov made 23 saves Tuesday in a 2-1 shootout loss to Winnipeg.
Laviolette may have been particularly pleased to see Bryzgalov stop two of three shootout attempts after allowing goals on all five shots he faced in previous tiebreakers this season. He’s lost five consecutive shootouts going back to April.
Conversely, Rinne has stopped all 11 shots in three shootouts since the start of December. He outplayed Bryzgalov on Jan. 14, making 36 saves in a 4-2 home win over Philadelphia. But Rinne won’t get another crack at Bryzgalov tonight, Anders Lindback starts.
Many of the Flyers’ top scorers continue to slump. Claude Giroux has no goals in his last 12 games, he was among the league leaders with 18 before that drought.
Jaromir Jagr has no goals in nine straight.
Danny Briere, who has gone seven in a row without one, remains out with a concussion, the same reason James van Riemsdyk and Chris Pronger aren’t playing.
While Philadelphia has lost its last three home games, the Predators have won three straight and six of seven on the road.
Nashville Predators – Anders Lindback
Philadelphia Flyers – Ilya Bryzgalov
This pick is our Big Pucking NHL pick of the day. So far this 2011-2012 NHL season here at Pucking Hockey we are, 84-42-3 +$17,846. All picks are documented with a third party sports monitor. Click the banner below for proof.
To get this pick from Pucking Hockey, as well as the rest of today’s picks for just $29.99, click the ‘BUY NOW’ logo below. Guaranteed to show a profit or else the next two days of picks are free. And if we do not show a profit over those two days, we will issue you a complete refund.
All Rights Reserved