26 December 2009

Flyers Weekend Preview: Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders

Not to worry, Between the Pipes is back from their holiday hiatus and stronger than ever!
Tonight’s toilet bowl matchup between the flailing Philadelphia Flyers and NHL-worst Carolina Hurricanes is sure to be...well, interesting if nothing else. The Flyers are coming off of their third win in fourteen games, and the Hurricanes’ defense is still more porous than Spongebob Squarepants.
The Flyers battled in Tampa Bay on Wednesday, picking apart Mike Smith for two first-period goals, before giving up two goals of their own in the second to tie the game at 2-2. Blair Betts added his second goal of the game at the midpoint of the third period, deflecting an Oskars Bartulis shot past Smith to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead.
Mike Richards also cashed in for his second goal on a beautiful shot on a 2-1 break with Darroll Powe to extend the Flyers lead to 4-2 with less than three minutes to play in regulation. Simon Gagne added an empty-netter to secure the win for the boys in orange. Michael Leighton made 31 saves on 33 shots in the Flyers 5-2 win.

The game matched the Flyers season thus far—a complete rollercoaster. Strong first period play led to a 2-0 lead, before a few lazy shifts later the Flyers ended up tied with the Lightning. However, despite a second-period letdown, the Flyers managed to stand tall and outplay the opponent when it mattered.
For a team who hasn’t won back-to-back games since November 18th, I’d say overcoming that type of adversity is definitely a good sign.
The hockey gods gave the Flyers a Christmas present of sorts this weekend, with games against the last place Hurricanes and yes, you called it, the New York Islanders.
Keep in mind the Flyers have won 15 of their past 16 meetings with New York, not having lost to the Islanders since February 12, 2008.
If the Flyers were ever looking for an easy way out of this midseason skid, this weekend presents them with that opportunity. There is no such thing as a sure-win, but the Canes and Islanders are the best shot the Flyers have.
Let’s hope a win on paper is a win on the ice.

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