Philadelphia Flyers (3-11-2, 8 pts) at Pittsburgh Penguins (7-6-2, 16 pts)
Tonight will be either the Thrill of Victory or the Agony of Defeat, as they used to say on ABC's Wide World of Sports. I can think of no better team to beat to break out of a slump than the Flyers (though the Rangers are a close second), and I can think of no worse team to lose to under the current circumstances than the Flyers. It will either be very, very good, or very, very bad.
Maybe the Pens can use tonight as a way to go back to how they were playing at the beginning of the year, kind of like a reset button. Let's hope so, because they've been unable to generate any kind of offense since the last time they played Philly. In their last four games, it has been especially bad, with the Pens managing just 18.5 shots per game. That simply won't get it done.
The Flyers almost beat Buffalo at home on Saturday night, and they've been playing a bit better of late. The score doesn't show it, but they had out shot their opponents in eight straight games before Saturday night. Their penalty kill has also been excellent. Of course, most of what you need to know about the Flyers special teams comes from the following fact - the Flyers have allowed more power play goals than they've scored, and their PK has been excellent this year.
So, tonight the Pens badly need to break the losing streak, and not just because they need the points. Ask yourself: would you want to be off until Friday with an upset Michel Therrien just waiting to "explain" things to you all week long? Me either...
Let's Go Pens!