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Desperate Times

Flyers and Caps will both be playing like their lives are on the line
Friday, 02.01.2013 / 2:56 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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Flyers Inside Out
Desperate Times

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tonight’s hockey game will be brought to you by the letter D – as in “desperation.”

The Flyers arrived in town riding a two game skid and watched from the comfort of their hotel rooms as the Capitals coughed up a lead in Toronto Thursday and fell in regulation 3-2.

The Caps are an NHL-worst 1-5-1 to start the season, certainly an unexpected beginning to the career of head coach Adam Oates.

Needless to say, both teams need to win tonight – and badly.

“Every game you play you get a lot of the same [compete level],” said coach Peter Laviolette. “I don’t know how desperate Tampa was and they played a really good game against us and the same with the Rangers.

“Every game teams feel like they need to win points and there won’t be any easy ones. The days of the layups are gone. I know we’re going to try to be ready and I’m sure they’re going to do the same thing.”

Neither team can afford to continue to struggle and needs to turn around their outcomes immediately, so the anticipation is a high-intensity battle between two teams who find themselves at the opposite end of the standings then where they are accustomed.

Speaking of the upside-down standings, I know we’re only seven games into the new season, which means there is the equivalent to half a normal season left, but a quick glance at the standings on Feb. 1 would offer these Eastern Conference playoff matchups if the season started today:

No. 1 Boston vs. No. 8 Pittsburgh; No. 2 Tampa Bay vs. No. 7 Toronto; No. 3 New York Islanders vs. No. 6 Montreal; No. 4 Ottawa vs. No. 5 New Jersey

Four teams that weren’t in the playoffs last season including the Islanders (the first place Islanders! Did we time warp to 1981?) Pittsburgh an eight seed? No Flyers, Rangers or Capitals? NBC sports execs would have a conniption if this was how it would turn out.

Order should be restored by the end of April, but if there was ever a season where the standings had a chance to end up on their head, it would be one with just 48 games.

We’ll see, but it was odd to look at the standings this morning.

…………………………………………………………..

I have no official confirmation from Laviolette on the lineup tonight. But I venture an educated guess as to what the lines and defensive pairs will look like tonight:

Briere-Giroux-Simmonds

Read-Couturier-Knuble

McGinn-Schenn-Voracek

Fedotenko-Talbot-Rinaldo

Timonen-Schenn

Cobun-Gervais

Grosmann-Foster

………………………………………………………….

How about this note in the New York post from columnist Phil Mushnick:

Is It possible for an NHL player to become a Lady Byng Memorial Trophy candidate — for sportsmanlike conduct — while in a fight?

Tuesday against the Rangers, Flyers’ right winger Max Talbot did a remarkably noble thing for which he received no credit from MSG’s Rangers announcers.

Talbot and Ryan Callahan began to fight. Suddenly, Talbot stopped, backed off and signaled to the Rangers bench for help. Clearly, Callahan and Talbot both stopped trying to punch each other because both knew Callahan had just hurt his shoulder.

Viewers couldn’t miss this remarkable scene, not live nor in multiple replays. It deserved emphasis from Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti, who otherwise tracked the hassle, start to finish. Yet, Talbot’s act went unspoken until, after the final replay, Micheletti managed, “I think he knew something happened to Callahan.”

He thinks? What else was Talbot doing, stopping to summon a waitress?

Not every day that Philly players get some love from the New York media. Never mind love for the player coupled with criticism of the hometown broadcasters for being so… so… trite.

Good job Mr. Mushnick.

To contact Anthony SanFilippo. Email asanfilippo@comcast-sportsnet.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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