While the Northeast was getting hammered by two winter storms this week, the Philadelphia Flyers were on a three-game trip in California. With power outages all across the region, the Flyers game against the Colorado Avalanche is on as scheduled. The Flyers head into tonight's game with some momentum as they have won their last two games.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Flyers captain Claude Giroux is tonight's player to watch on the Flyers. Giroux has been one of the brighter points on the Flyers roster over the past couple of games. He has four goals and five assists in the past five games. Three of the last four games have been multi-pointer for Giroux as he netted one goal in each and two assists in two games. After struggling at the beginning of the season, Giroux currently has 18 goals and 37 assists for a total of 55 points. He is ranked 39th for goals scored, 8th in assists, and 13th in points.
Besides his impressive play recently, the biggest reason to watch Giroux tonight is due to the fact he was snubbed for the second time for a spot on Team Canada's roster and is likely going to bring his anger into the game for extra motivation. Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos was forced to withdraw from Team Canada because he was not ready to play after breaking his leg earlier this season. Stamkos was on track to be able to play, but he fell short of his return.
Giroux was snubbed when the official roster was announced and he was hoping that he would be the replacement for Stamkos. However, Team Canada has replaced Stamkos with his teammate, Martin St. Louis. Steve Yzerman, the General Manager for the Lightning, is the Team Canada's executive director. He says the reason behind St. Louis as the replacement is because Stamkos was going to be a winger and St. Louis is a natural winger. Giroux is a natural center.
Kimmo Timonen will be returning to the Flyers lineup tonight after sitting out the past two games with a foot injury. Timonen also missed five practices since hurting his left foot. Being back in the lineup will bring much needed help back to the blue line for the Flyers. It will also give Timonen two games to get back into the swing of things before heading to Sochi, Russia for the Winter Olympics where he will be representing Finland.
THE LAST MEETING
Tonight's game between the Flyers and the Avalanche will be the second and last time they play each other during the 2013-14 season. Their first meeting was on January 2 and the Avalanche came away with the 2-1 win in Colorado. It was an even matchup between the two teams as Flyers goalie Steve Mason saved 29 of 31 shots while Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov saved 29 of 30 sent his way. It looks like it will be a goalie rematch tonight. It will be Mason's sixth start in a row and he is looking to build off of his past two games.
This game is also an important one for both teams as they head into the Olympic break. The Flyers struggled over the past month and need every win they can get before the break. The Avalanche got thrashed by the New York Rangers earlier this week as they lost 5-1. Colorado is fifth in the Western Conference and is looking to improve from there. The Flyers are ninth in the Eastern Conference are just barely outside of the second Wild Card spot.
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