The 1-5-0 Philadelphia Flyers are back at home to take on the 3-3-0 Vancouver Canucks. After losing their last two games to the Phoenix Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings, the Flyers are looking to play a more disciplined game tonight as they work toward their second win of the season.
They have been a HUGE problem for the Flyers this season as they have 45 penalties in six games. A majority of the penalties have been from dumb mistakes. One player to watch for is Zac Rinaldo because referees seem to always look for a reason to put him in the box. As we saw in their game against the Coyotes, Rinaldo played without any discipline and ended up going into the box four times, twice in the first period. Rinaldo also caused quite a scare when he cross-checked a Coyote into Steve Mason and Mason looked shaken up, but he stayed in the game. Rinaldo has become more disciplined since his first game as a Flyer, but you can see he still has some work to do. When he isn't in the penalty box, Rinaldo can actually be productive for the Flyers.
When it comes to the penalty kill, the Flyers have been on it 33 times. They have given up seven power play goals and three of them came against the Detroit Red Wings, who were ranked as the worst power play in the league (0-10) going into the game. The Canucks are down there at the bottom of the power play rankings as well with their 2-19 power play record. The Canucks are 0-7 in their last four games though. If the Flyers' performance on the penalty kill is a sign of what's to come, then the Canucks may have a field day tonight.
If the Flyers can stay out of the box more often, then they will have a better chance of winning games. Notice the pattern here… more penalties = more losses.
GUSTAFSSON IN LINEUP
Erik Gustafsson is in the lineup again tonight, likely subbing in for Andrej Meszaros again like he did against the Red Wings. Gustafsson played well against Detroit and was paired with Kimmo Timonen. He will likely be paired with Kimmo again because they both move the puck quickly. Gustafsson is a defenseman with speed and finesse, which is more than what Meszaros brings to the table. Gustafsson scored a goal against the Red Wings and right now he is in a fight to get the starting job over Meszaros. If he does win the starting job, then you can consider Meszaros as good as gone.
WHO IS STARTING BETWEEN THE PIPES?
For the Canucks, Roberto Luongo will be starting tonight. Luongo was rumored to be part of a trade this season with the Flyers. Many, if not all, fans are thankful that the trade never happened because it would have been another Ilya Bryzgalov-like goalie who can be a loose cannon. In his career, Luongo is 2-3-2 against the Flyers and has a goals against average just under 3.50 in the past seven Flyers-Canucks games. The last time the Flyers played the Canucks was in 2011-12 season and the Flyers won 5-4 in Philadelphia.
For the Flyers, Steve Mason will be in the crease tonight. Mason is 1-3-0 so far this season, but he has played fairly well despite that record. He has a .935 save percentage and a goals against average just slightly above 2.00 at 2.02. Mason has also clearly become the Flyers number one goaltender as this will be his fifth start of the season and Ray Emery only has two.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
TYE MCGINN — McGinn was called up along with Michael Raffl to fill the spots left vacant when Vinny Lecavalier and Scott Hartnell went down with injuries. McGinn played well against Detroit despite going to the penalty box for a bad penalty. He played with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek during the game and ended up creating a lot of opportunities for them. McGinn ended the night with a goal and is looking to carry his performance over to tonight's game against the Canucks. You can consider McGinn's call-up as a second chance to prove he should be on the main club.
THE SEDIN'S — When Daniel and Henrik Sedin are on the ice together, they are the ones to watch. While they both like to set each other up, Daniel Sedin is the one who scores more on the passes Henrik Sedin sets him up with. In six games, Daniel and Henrik have 40 shots combined between the two of them with three goals and 11 assists. Now that is some nice production coming out of just two players. The brothers also play well against the Flyers. In 11 career games each, they have combined for five goals and 21 assists.
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