Reports on the wire are that Ilya Bryzgalov's your starter for this evening against the Rangers. There's been some confusion whether that news is official, but he's the "likely starter" since all three (Bob, Bryz & Bacashihua) netminders were on the ice today for practice.
Opposite in net is Henrik Lundqvist, who "has posted a 1.60 goals-against average and one shutout in starting each game against Philadelphia this season."
Also on the latest updates-front, there's been no call-ups from Adriondack despite what many believed would have been (C) Ben Holmstrom.
The blue lining Andreas Lilja will be skating with the Flyers defense tonight which should improve the vacancy left open by Niklas Grossmann. This will be Lilja's first game back since March 22 against the Washington Capitals.
Marc-Andre Bourdon will also remain up with Philadelphia and part of their defense.
As for Matt Read being promoted to center -- splitting right and left wingers Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds -- I am surprised, yet NOT surprised, at the decision.
On any normal day I'd agree that throwing Read in the middle of that combination is the correct move to make. However, that Schenn - Briere - Simmonds line has (lately) been producing the most offense. Simmonds is carrying a four-game goal-scoring streak with him, and Schenn's logged 4-points in his last 5-contests.
Obviously missing Briere (due to an upper back contusion, also suffered on Saturday) is an enormous loss to the trifecta's chemistry.
Danny Briere's been an assisting machine as of late. His awareness on the ice -- specifically, deep in our scoring zone -- has paid tremendous dividends. It's his awareness factor I believe the line combination will miss.
Though many would argue against me, I thought perhaps sliding Claude Giroux between Simmonds and Schenn could payoff versus an adversary like the Blueshirts.
The puck's going to have to be moved surgically and effectively. Orange bodies will have to be rooted deep in the Rangers' slot to get those dirty, hard fought goals. We got one last chance to prove we can take on and defeat these bastards, so why not mix it up and keep the hot line as strong as it can be?
Of course I understand the argument against my suggestion. You don't want to breakup our top, shutdown line (H-G-J) if you don't HAVE to. But Laviolette's never been a stranger to throwing different line combinations onto the ice on a night-by-night basis.
Nevertheless, it'll be Read quarterbacking the faceoffs between Simmer & Schenner.
New York needs only one more point in the standings to secure the #1 Seed in the Eastern Conference. The last time they achieved the top spot was in the 1993-94 NHL season. Oddly enough, that was the last time they lifted the Stanley Cup and buried a 54-year Championshipless drought.
Philadelphia is trying to avoid a series sweep at the hands of the Rangers for the first time since the 1971-72 NHL season.
For both Clubs, there's a lot to gain by winning tonight's tilt.
The last time the Flyers defeated the Rags in the city of Philadelphia was December 18, 2010, in a 4 - 1 decision. You're welcome for that unwanted factoid.
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