Weekly Flyers Preview: Apr. 6-Apr. 12

The Flyers begin this week looking to clinch a spot in the playoffs. One win will put them into the postseason.

This past weekend, the Flyers saw their losing streak drop to four games with a 5-2 loss to Boston on the road. They rebounded, handling the Sabres 5-2 at home. Unfortunately in the Sabres game, they lost Zac Rinaldo for the next four games due to suspension from a hit he delivered in that game.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 vs. Florida Panthers (28-43-8, 64 points, 7th Atlantic)

The anemic Panthers offense is 29th in the league, averaging 2.28 goals per game. Brad Boyes leads the club with 20 goals. Sean Bergenheim has 16, while the club’s points leader Scottie Upshall has 15 (for 36 points). Nick Bjugstad has 14 goals and Jimmy Hayes has ten.

Florida also allows a ton of goals, ranking 27th in the league. They give up an average of 3.19 goals per game. However, deadline acquisition Roberto Luongo has been decent since returning to Florida. For the Panthers Luongo is 5-6-1, with a 2.45 goals against average and has saved 92.3% of shots faced.

The Panthers have the worst special teams in the league. One of the league’s worst offenses is related to having the worst power play at 10.3%. On the road, they are even worse at 7.0%. Bergenheim, Hayes and Aleksandr Barkov all lead the club with three power play goals. The Panthers also have the worst penalty kill at 75.8%.

Thursday, April 10, 2014 @ Tampa Bay Lightning (42-27-9, 93 points, 3rdAtlantic)

Tampa has clinched a playoff spot, but has lost three of their last four.

Steven Stamkos returned a few weeks ago to the Lightning lineup, giving the ninth ranked offense their biggest weapon back. Stamkos has 24 goals, second on the team to Valteri Filppula’s 25. Tyler Johnson is close behind with 23. Ondrej Palat has reached the 20 goal mark. Alex Killorn has 17 while both Teddy Purcell and Victor Hedman have twelve each.

The Lightning have the 13th ranked defense, allowing 2.63 goals per game. Ben Bishop has been the man between the pipes, playing in 62 games, winning 37 of them. He has allowed 2.23 goals per game, while boasting a .924 save percentage.

Tampa has the 19th ranked power play, scoring on 17.9% of power plays. Despite missing 45 games, Stamkos leads the team with eight power play goals. Filppula has six on the man advantage. Their penalty kill is ranked 22nd in the league, killing off 80.8% of penalties.

SaturdayApril, 12, 2014 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (50-24-5, 105 points, 1stMetropolitan)

The Flyers need no introduction to the Penguins. By the time Saturday’s game rolls around, both teams may know their playoff matchups and may choose to rest key players.

Pittsburgh has the sixth ranked offense lead by Sidney Crosby, who has 36 goals and 102 points on the season. Chris Kunitz (35 goals) gives the Penguins two 30 goal scorers, with only two other teams reaching that milestone. James Neal has scored 24 goals and Evgeni Malkin has tallied 23. Jussi Jokinen is close to the 20 goal mark, with 18 on the year. Brandon Sutter has 13, while Matt Niskanen has ten to lead the defense corps.

Lead by goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, the Penguins allow 2.47 goals per game, which is eighth best in the league. This season, Fleury is 38-18-4 with a 2.34 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. However, with a playoff spot wrapped up it may be Jeff Zatkoff (12-6-1, 2.66, .916) in net.

The league’s number one offense scores on 23.3% of power play opportunities. Kunitz (13) and Crosby (11) are both in double figures in power play goals. Neal could join that duo, as he has nine. Their penalty kill is third overall at 85.7%.

Sunday, April 13, 2014 vs. Carolina Hurricanes (34-33-11, 79 points, 7thMetropolitan)

The Hurricanes have played a bit of spoiler lately, defeating Pittsburgh, Dallas and Columbus in recent weeks.

Carolina averages 2.50 goals per game, ranking 22nd in the league. Jeff Skinner leads the team with 31 goals, tying a career high. Alexander Semin has 22, while captain Eric Staal has 19. Staal’s 58 points lead the team. Nathan Gerbe has 16 goals, Jordan Staal has 15 and Jiri Tlusty has 14. Andrej Sekera leads the Canes’ defense with 10 goals and 44 points.

The Hurricanes’ 16th ranked defense allows 2.70 goals per game. Anton Khudobin has been getting the bulk of the starts lately for Carolina. This season, in 34 games, he has gone 18-13-1 with a 2.14 goals against average and has saved 93.1% of shots faced.

Carolina has the second worst power play, only scoring on 14.2% of power play chances. Skinner has ten power play goals, while Semin has six. However, the Hurricanes have a decent penalty kill, ranking 13th at 82.8%.

Weekly Expectations: 5 points

Since November 18, Dan has predicted Flyers points.

Realdeal: 72 points

Flyers: 72 points