Tonight, the Flyers will take on the Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum.
This is noteworthy, because the last time the Flyers went to Tampa Bay — on Nov. 9 — this happened:
That was 48 days ago. Since then, much has transpired. The teams actually faced each other again, in Philly, with the Flyers winning 5-2…yet many questions prior to tonight’s contest dealt exclusively with the events of Nov. 9.
Hey Peter Laviolette, what will you do to beat Tampa’s 1-3-1?
“Whatever we need to do to be successful,” he told CSN Philadelphia. “We used a lot of quick ups in our building (a 5-2 Flyers win over the Lightning on Dec. 10) but that’s a different challenge than their building.
“We’ll see how the game presents and see how they play. I don’t really like talking about it in the [media] so they can read about what we’re going to do.”
Aside from the trap angle, there’s also the budding Claude Giroux vs. Steve Stamkos battle. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi dubbed it a matchup of “arguably the NHL’s top active players” — which, statistically speaking, is a fair assessment. Giroux leads the NHL with 41 points while Stamkos is tied for second in goals, with 20.
PHT Notes: There will be one major difference between tonight’s game and the one on Nov. 9. The main orchestrator of Philly’s stall tactic, Chris Pronger, won’t be playing. That said, Braydon Coburn also proved equally adept at standing still and not moving the puck, so he could pick up the slack if need be.
Uh oh, Marian Hossa might be injured after awkward fall
The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.
(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)
Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)
Video isn’t yet available, but My Regular Face’s GIF captures that troubling moment:
It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.
The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).
One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
Report: Wild will tab John Torchetti as interim head coach
Torchetti is no stranger to the NHL, although he’ll probably be frustrated if this opportunity doesn’t turn into a full-time gig. He was also an interim head coach for the Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers.
As of this writing, the Wild are in a three-way tie for the first spot outside of the West’s wild card mix, although they could sink a bit depending upon how Arizona and Vancouver handle the one game they have in hand on the Wild.
More importantly, Minnesota’s currently three points behind Nashville for the final wild card spot.
That’s not an impossible goal for Torchetti. For whatever it’s worth, Sports Club Stats gives Minnesota a 34.7 percent chance to make the playoffs.