Flyers look to end losing streak tonight against the Rangers

Jody Shelley will make his season debut tonight for the Philadelphia Flyers as they hope to snap their 3 game losing streak against the New York Rangers.At 0-3-0 the Philadelphia Flyers are off to a start no one had hoped for, especially after the Eagles season and the Andrew Bynum saga. But to make things worse, the Flyers take on the Rangers, without two of the teams’ top goal scorers and without another essential piece to the team. More than half of the lineup tonight is composed of AHL talent. The Flyers are without Danny Briere, Brayden Schenn (who is suspended for 1 game) and Scott Hartnell who took a Kimmo Timonen slap shot to the foot. The Flyers NEED a win tonight. They say it is a long season, but in this case, it is not.

For the Flyers to beat the Rangers, they HAVE to put up 3 goals at minimum. In order to do that, they must play well in the first period, which is not one of their strengths. I see the Flyers trying to start fast and hit a little bit in the beginning. The only issue is, three of the most physical players on the Flyers are out for tonight (Schenn, Hartnell, and Zac Rinaldo). The Flyers need to score in the first period and hold a lead or tie going to the third period. Reason being is the Rangers are just too good to try and play catch-up against.

There has been a lot of chatter over what the lines will be tonight, and whether or not the traffic-cone himself Jody Shelley will play. Personally, I would never start Jody Shelley in an NHL game. But, it looks as if he has to play tonight with all who is missing. If I were Peter Laviolette, the lines would look as follows:

Claude Giroux centering Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds

Sean Couturier centering Matt Read and Eric Wellwood

Maxime Talbot centering Tom Sestito and Tye McGinn

Scott Laughton centering Jody Shelley and Ruslan Fedotenko

Braydon Coburn and Nicklas Grossmann

Kimmo Timonen and Luke Schenn

Andrej Meszaros and Kurtis Foster

Personally, I do not think the first line will be bad by any means. Simmonds can offer more than Hartnell in the fact that he can help more defensively, and can camp out by the goaltender, leaving Giroux and Voracek to do what they do best: handle the puck. I think Talbot, Sestito and McGinn can be very effective as a shut down line vs one of the best lines in the NHL in Marian Gaborik, Rick Nash and Brad Richards. If the Flyers can contain this line, they can have a chance. Flyers fans need to keep an eye on Rick Nash, one of the best players in the NHL. He is big, fast and talented and can make anyone look silly, especially slow defensemen. Expect Nash to run circles around Timonen, but if the Flyers can contain the Rangers top line to 1 goal or less, they can win the game. If not, it is going to get ugly, and fast.

UPDATE: Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com has said that the Flyers’ Top Line tonight will consist of Giroux centering Simmonds & Read while Shelley & Sestito will be on Eric Wellwood’s line.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Josh Collacchi

Josh is what we like to call a "4 for 4" Philadelphia sports fan, who lives in northern Delaware. Season ticket holder to the Phillies and former season ticket holder for the Eagles, Sixers, and Flyers. Currently attending Wilmington University majoring in Business/Sports Management. He works for the local utility company but, as most of us, his real passion is Philadelphia Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JCollacchi