The Philadelphia Flyers return home after a mediocre six-game road trip that put them atop the Atlantic Division. Going 2-2-2 over six grueling road games can be considered highly productive for a team that was without eight players. The Flyers’ homecoming finally kicks “Disney On Ice” out of the Wachovia Center, but I’m sure this banged up team will be looking for some offensive magic against the Wild.
According to the latest injury report from the Philadelphia Flyers Official Website the team is still without: Kalininski, Niittymaki, Lupul, and obviously Briere. While Gagne, Powe, Asham, and Claude Giroux are day-to-day. Playing with this many injuries is a burden on any team in the NHL, but it is a situation all professional sports teams are put in.
On the other side of the puck, the Minnesota Wild have lost their star right winger, Marian Gaborik, to hip surgery. The 26-year-old will need anywhere between a 13-15 week recovery period and is obviously out of commission for tonight’s go-around with the Flyers.
This is not shaping up to be an easy homecoming for the Flyers as they face one of the more dangerous teams in the Eastern Conference. The Wild’s success starts with their all-star netminder Nicklaus Backstrom.
Backstrom has just been named to the ’09 All Star Game and his recent numbers support his reward. Backstrom just shut out Colorado and Boston in back to back games. A hot goaltender is something the sickly Flyers do not want to see right now.
Tonight’s match up is looking to be one of the more important home games of late. Yes, it is a long season, but this Philadelphia club has the ability to not only weather the injuries but actually move ahead in the point standings as they proved over the road trip. Tonight’s Eastern Conference match up will truly test the meddle of this young Flyer’s club as they do battle with one of the more dominate teams in the East.