The Week Ahead: Philadelphia Flyers

Ilya Bryzgalov needs to stay hot to get the Philadelphia Flyers back on the winning track.At 2-4-0 and coming off an abysmal performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Flyers will look to get back on track this week. The Flyers travel to New York to take on a division rival in the Rangers on Tuesday. Then the Flyers travel to DC to play the Capitals on Friday, and turn around and finish off the week at home vs the Hurricanes on Saturday. If you are looking for three wins, this is not the best of weeks to get it, but it can happen. The Flyers have already beaten the Rangers, and with Ilya Bryzgalov being as hot as he is, this team can beat anyone.

Up first is the Rangers, and as I said last week, in order to beat them the Flyers need to get a lead and contain the top line of Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Rick Nash. Should they do that, the Flyers can win in Madison Square Garden. If not, it could be a long night and a tough few days after, as the Flyers have Wednesday and Thursday off. I think the Flyers come out fast and motivated, and can take the Rangers to OT. From there, as everyone knows, is a toss-up.

Friday, the Flyers play the Capitals. Each team has had their fair share of struggles offensively this year, but still have a ton of talent. The Caps boast a very good set of top-6 forwards including Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Ribeiro and Wojtek Wolski, who I think is a very underrated forward. Keep your eye out for him Flyers fans. To beat the Caps, the Flyers need to keep them to the outside. It sounds like an old hockey cliché, but if you let talented forwards inside, especially Ovi, it can be a long night.

The Flyers wrap up the week against the Carolina Hurricanes, who also have been struggling this year. But, like the Capitals, the Hurricanes have a very good top group of forwards. The Staal brothers (Eric Staal and Jordan Staal) are two of the top centers in the Eastern Conference, and each of them has a terrific winger to play with them in Jeff Skinner and one of my favorite players in Alexander Semin. To stop the Canes, you have to stop the top 2 lines. If so, the Flyers will win comfortably, as the bottom 6 for Carolina is not very strong.

I think the Flyers can get 2 wins this week, and they can not afford to get any less than 3 points. Going 3-6 would put them in an early hole in the playoff race. Remember, I know it is early, but we are almost 15% done the season already!

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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