Flyers to raise East banner in newly-renamed home
Monday, 10.11.2010 / 5:00 PM
NHL.comAVALANCHE (1-0-0) at FLYERS (1-0-1)
TV: ALT (HD), CSN-PH (HD)
This is the first time these teams have met since Nov. 23, 2009, a 5-4 Avalanche win in Denver. The last time they played in Philadelphia was Dec. 16, 2008, when the Flyers skated away with a 5-2 victory.
After splitting a pair of games on the road to start the season, the Flyers will celebrate the first game in the re-named Wells Fargo Center by raising their Eastern Conference championship banner.
The big story from Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss in St. Louis was the Flyers' 15 penalties and 10 power plays they handed the Blues.
All the special teams play kept the Flyers from establishing any kind off offensive flow.
"We didn't play our game," said Claude Giroux, who took two penalties, including one early in the third period that negated a Flyers power play. "All game we were trying to get momentum. They're a good team. They're fast and they’re young and they were skating better than us. … We have to be smarter than that and move our feet more and take less penalties."
In the Flyers' first two games they've committed 21 penalties, but the silver lining on that dark cloud is their penalty-killing unit has successfully negated 13 of 15 opposition power plays -- a big reason they picked up three of four points in Pittsburgh and St. Louis.
Monday's game opens a bit of an odd travel schedule for the Avs. After playing in Philadelphia, they'll head west to Detroit, then return Friday for three games in four days against the three New York metropolitan-area teams.
The Avalanche faced a similarly daunting early-season road trip last season that included stops in Chicago, Boston, Montreal and Detroit. The Avs completed that trip 4-1-2, which helped jumpstart an outstanding beginning to the season that saw them take an early Northwest Division lead, and when they faltered in the second half of the season, gave them enough points to hold on for a playoff spot.
If they hope to get back to the postseason, successfully negotiating this trip will be key.
"The start is the key," goalie Craig Anderson
told the Denver Post. "Teams that have a good start put themselves in a position, at the end of the day, to make the playoffs. More times than not, a bad start won't get you in the playoffs."
Philadelphia's Danny Briere has picked up where he left off last spring, when he led the playoffs in scoring. He has a goal in each of the Flyers' first two games. … Avalanche center Paul Stastny
had a pair of goals, including the overtime winner, in Colorado's season-opening 5-4 win against the Blackhawks.
Flyers goalie Michael Leighton, already scheduled to miss a month with a bulging disc in his lower back, will have back surgery Monday and now will miss up to two months. Defenseman Chris Pronger, still recovering from August knee surgery, is questionable. He sat out the first two games, although he has been traveling and practicing with the team. … Avs center Peter Mueller
is out indefinitely with a concussion sustained in the preseason. Also out is forward David Koci
, who broke his jaw in a preseason fight. Defensemen Adam Foote
and Kyle Cumiskey
skipped the on-ice portion of practice Saturday, but both returned to the ice on Sunday and are expected to play.
It may be early, but the Flyers lead the League in penalties, with 21. If that pattern continues, it would mark the third straight season they've led the League in that category, and in 2007-08 they had the second-most.
The number of players using wood sticks has dropped by one -- Stastny has made the switch.
"There's still going to be an adjustment period, but it's worked out," Stastny said. "I think the blade pattern is almost exactly the same as the wood, so that's the most important thing for me."
It certainly looked good in the opener, when he scored twice with his new stick, including the overtime winner.
"It took three or four months of using a one-piece -- and it might take a whole year before I finally get 100-percent used to it, but I feel comfortable on the ice," Stastny said. "As long as my confidence out there is the same with it, there's no reason to change back."