In another rare Eastern Conference matchup, the Stars will be matched up against the Eastern Conference leading (barely) Flyers. The team has seen some struggles lately and if not for their domination for most of the season up until now, they might be much lower than they are; and with the Capitals surging, they could very well see their conference title hopes vanquished. Once the playoffs hit, I think most people believe they could go all the way, regardless of where they end up at the end of the regular season.
Which is where we are now, closing in on the end of the regular season; even the games against the other conference are huge. So, I think we will see two teams hungry for 2 points – one team looking to get back to where they once were, while the other team looking to continue playing well and keep their team name in the top 8.
The Stars are coming off one of their best performances of the season against the defending champion Blackhawks. A game that saw them give no goals and score 5. The depth is clearly there and if they defend as a team they can make up for their weak blue line. Grossman has been playing like a beast and they are going to need him to continue that against a high-scoring Philadelphia squad.
This is definitely a winnable game, any game against the Eastern Conference seems to be. While their hopes of taking back the Division lead is practically out of reach, they can still get into the sweet spot of 4th or 5th if they can continue winning. They could really use a big win tonight, so they can use the momentum when going into an even bigger game against an Anaheim team that is on the outside looking in, but still within striking distance of a playoff birth.
The Flyers are still missing Pronger on defense which puts a gaping hole in a defense corp that is otherwise arguably the best in the league (see Vancouver). Their weakest link lately seems to be their goaltending however; which as most know has been in question since the start of the season. With injuries and lack luster performances, they are losing thanks to mediocre netminding most nights and their top defenseman isn’t there to clean up some of the mistakes.
Dallas on the other hand can come into this game knowing the damage they can do if they are firing on all offensive and defensive cylinders, even with the sustained absence of Loui Eriksson who along with Adam Burish will still be out. The Stars are going to need another Chicago-esque performance tonight if they want to be a stacked team that is getting desperate after going a mediocre 4-4-2 in the last 10 games. We’ll see if they can take advantage of the brief holes in the Flyers super-line-up tonight at 7pm.
Stars 4, Flyers 2
Richards (PPG at 11:21 of the First)
Here’s to hoping for a continuation of the emergence of Brad Richards and a resurgence of the powerplay thanks to vigilant practice.