PHILADELPHIA FLYERS HOCKEY IS BACK! The Flyers are set to face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight when the puck drops for their season opener at 7:30 p.m. The Maple Leafs already have one game, a fight-filled one, under their belt this season. With that in mind, here is a preview of what to expect from tonights game:
The Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 last night in a fight-filled game. The first period went by quietly as there were only four minor penalties. The fists started flying in the second period and continued into the third. Maple Leafs Colton Orr and Mark Fraser each had one fight in the second. However, one just wasn't enough for either of them as they each added another one in the third period. Carter Ashton made it a trio as he also threw down.
To prepare for a physical, possibly fight-filled, game against the Maple Leafs, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette has decided to make his lineup a little bigger tonight. Rookie Scott Laughton was expected to be the fourth-line center tonight until Laviolette made him a healthy scratch. In Laughton's place will be center Adam Hall, who was in two fights in the preseason finale against the Washington Capitals. Laviolette said that no one knows how the game will play out. Just in case something happens, it was a good idea for Laviolette to make a more physical lineup with the addition of Hall.
FIRST GAME IN NEW COLORS
Tonight will be the first regular season game in a Flyers uniform for Vinny Lecavalier and Mark Streit, the two biggest signings Paul Holmgren made in the offseason.
Lecavalier will be the second-line center with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds out on the wings. With that line combination, the Flyers have two scoring lines that are going to be dangerous all season. That other line is none other than Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
Streit will be on the second pairing line with Luke Schenn, following up the top line of Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn.
WHO IS STARTING BETWEEN THE PIPES?
Laviolette answered that question earlier today. Steve Mason will be getting the start tonight against the Maple Leafs. However, that doesn't make him the Number One goalie for the season. We will likely see both Mason and Ray Emery equally over the season. Laviolette said both goalies made their case during camp and the preseason, but that he decided to go with Mason because of how he performed at the end of last season as well as his performance in camp.
After practice yesterday, that decision became even harder to make with the performance of both Mason and Emery. The team ended practice with a little competition… a shootout. When a player scored, they could sit back and watch the others. If you missed, you kept going until you scored. Mason and Emery were in the zone during the shootout as they continued to stop Giroux, Hartnell, Voracek, B. Schenn, Simmonds and Hall.
Both goalies know that they are going to be a tandem this season and they are just fine with it. All they want to do is succeed and win the Cup
TONIGHT'S FLYERS LINEUP
Kimmo Timonen – Braydon Coburn
Mark Streit – Luke Schenn
Nicklas Grossmann – Andrej Meszaros
The first thing you should notice is Voracek on the third line. The reasoning behind this is that he may not be 100% after he hurt his back during the preseason game against the New Jersey Devils. Playing on the third line will limit his time on the ice.
Things may get interesting when the fourth line takes the ice. If any fights are going to break out, the first one will likely come with the fourth line.
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