GAME: Nashville Predators (32-23-8-2) at Philadelphia Flyers (33-16-12-6).
TIME: Wednesday, 7 p.m. EST.
Waiting for so many key players to return, the Philadelphia Flyers have been unable to build momentum as the postseason approaches. Their fight for the Eastern Conference's top seed continues when the Nashville Predators visit the Wachovia Center.
All-Star centers Keith Primeau and Jeremy Roenick join defensemen Eric Desjardins, Marcus Ragnarsson and Dennis Seidenberg on the Flyers' injured list. While Roenick might not be back during the regular season, Primeau has been sidelined longer than originally expected following the concussion he received on Feb. 12. "I'd have to say this is the most frustrating thing I have ever been through, because I really don't know how to gauge where I am at," the Flyers captain said. "I have good days and think I am making progress, then only to fall flat on my face the next day."
While Desjardins (broken forearm) should return within the next few weeks, Seidenberg (broken leg) is likely out for the season. The news for the Philadelphia defense got worse Monday when the team learned Ragnarsson would miss a week to 10 days with an ailing shoulder. "It's not as bad as it was before. I can skate right now but I can't do any contact," Ragnarsson said.
Goaltender Robert Esche had sat out nearly a month due to a sprained knee before returning to the lineup Saturday at Boston, making 29 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss. Sean Burke was in net for Sunday's 4-2 loss at Detroit as Philadelphia closed an 0-1-1-1 road trip.
The Flyers are 2-4-1-1 since Feb. 15, but remain tied for the best record in the East. Thanks to New Jersey losing three straight, Philadelphia's lead in the Atlantic Division is up to six points. Nashville has little chance to catch Detroit for the Central Division crown, standing 11 points back, but is in position to notch the franchise's first playoff berth. The Predators have lost just once in their last seven (5-1-1). Tomas Vokoun has a 1.81 goals-against average during that stretch, surrendering just three in the last three games.
Though Vokoun made 31 saves in Sunday's 2-2 tie at home against Chicago, many Predators were unhappy to get just one point against one of the league's worst teams. Nashville failed to score until Scott Walker's goal midway through the third period, then gave up the tying tally with 1:44 remaining.
"For two periods I felt like we should be happy to just get a point," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "Then, in the last two minutes we lost a point. They are a hard team to play against, but we can't be happy with losing a point like that." Nashville is 2-0-2 in this series since losing to Philadelphia on March 21, 2000.
NAS: Poweplay rank: 11th Penalty Kill: 22nd 42% of road games won
PHI: Powerplay rank: 1st Penalty Kill: 17th 70% when playing at home
Esche is the probable starter for the Flyers
Vokoun is the probable starter for the Predators.
This is going to be a good game against an upstart team like the Predators. Since they got Sullivan, he has produced in every game. Vokoun has been solid for them this entire season.
They don't have any big players on the team but they have a lot of good, young kids on this team. We have the offense to beat them but our defense is what is killing us lately. If that gets better (please God, let it better), we should have the win. Even so, I think we win this in a close one.
Come on, Flyers, get this win tonight. Especially since one of the best captains in Flyers history, Dave Poulin, is getting inducted to the Flyers Hall of fame.
If the team mangages to win the board battles like asked of them, they will win. We are going to need good goaltending as these unkown Preds are sharp shooters.
Lets start putting more pressure on the Debs and the top team sin the Eastern Conference.
Just read a weird trade that "supposedly" is done:
TO NYR: Richards, Sharp, Radio & picks
TO PHI: Leetch & Barnaby & picks
flyersphan site is reporting this
Then another guy is saying Leetch is going to TOR for Antropov and 1st rounder
I haven't heard word one about this. However, if the Phlys got Barnaby, Devs v Phlys games may never actually make it past the second period before each roster is filled with game misconducts. These two teams hate each other enough without that little puke getting thrown into the mix. Maybe we can go out and get Domi and then Hell will have completely frozen over.
I was making the same mistakes in logic, too, before it was pointed out to me that the current bargaining agreement doesn't expire until September 15, 2004. Teams are going to have to make up their minds about their free agents quite far before that.
I don't know if the owners could get away with a fixed cap at any point, and I wonder whether they could even get one grandfathered in at any point. I suspect the sides might end up negotiating to a luxury tax or something.
Then again, I don't know my backside from my elbow (really), so...