Saturday, October 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Are the Canucks a measuring stick?

It's October. The young season is not even a week old, barely 6 days into a 185-day march.

Are the Canucks a measuring stick?

Ilya Bryzgalov makes his home debut at the Wells Fargo Center tonight. (Rich Schultz/AP)
Ilya Bryzgalov makes his home debut at the Wells Fargo Center tonight. (Rich Schultz/AP)

It's October. The young season is not even a week old, barely 6 days into a 185-day march.

Yes, the Flyers are 2-0 and looking like they will be among the class of the Eastern Conference.

But it's hard to say anything more than that.

They beat a solid Bruins team on an emotional night last Thursday and followed that with a win against a New Jersey team that most believe won't challenge for a playoff spot.

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"It's only two games," Claude Giroux said on Wednesday morning.

That's why it's a little tough to say that Wednesday night's home opener against Vancouver (7:30 pm, CSN) is anything more than just another game at this point - even if the Canucks went the distance in last June's Stanley Cup final.

Remember, the Flyers held the overall lead in the Eastern Conference last year for 57 straight days.

The Canucks will already be without three players, including Ryan Kesler - who torched the Flyers for 3 points last December - and Henrik Sedin will be playing hurt.

Tonight is the Flyers' only matchup of the season with Vancouver. Last year, the Flyers were embarrassed, 6-2, by the Canucks, which was their first loss in Vancouver in 22 years.

"It's always fun when you play good teams," coach Peter Laviolette said. "Any team can beat any team on any given night."

HENRIK SEDIN HURT: Canucks star Henrik Sedin is expected to play tonight against the Flyers after suffering a "charlie horse" during a hit by the Blue Jackets' Marc Methot on Monday night. Sedin's right thigh is bruised and sore.

According to the Vancouver Province, Sedin did not practice with the Canucks on Tuesday but is expected to play.

The Canucks' captain awkwardly went into the boards with his right knee sticking out when Methot crunched him as he was lowering and turning his head away from the play. Sedin hobbled off the ice but finished the game.

Henrik Sedin had 3 points against the Flyers in their last meeting (Dec. 28, 2010).

Monday's hit has made some wonder whether teams deliberately take liberties against the Sedin twins to try and take them out of the game.

“Teams are obviously going to go after them because they know they are our best players,” Alex Burrows told the Province. “At the same time, there are rules in place and the league is protecting players from getting hits to the head.”

TONIGHT'S LINEUPS: The Flyers' lineup is expected to remain the exact same as it did in the first two games.

FLYERS:
Forwards
Van Riemsdyk - Giroux - Jagr
Voracek - Briere - Simmonds
Hartnell - Couturier - Read
Nodl - Talbot - Rinaldo

Defense
Carle - Pronger
Timonen - Coburn
Meszaros - Lilja

Goalies
Bryzgalov
Bobrovsky

Scratches: Jody Shelley (suspended), Blair Betts (knee), Matt Walker (healthy).

Vancouver is already missing Ryan Kesler (hip), Mason Raymond (back) and Aaron Rome (finger).

CANUCKS:
Forwards

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alex Burrows
Marco Sturm - Cody Hodgson - Mikael Samuelsson
Chris Higgins - Manny Malhotra - Jannik Hansen
Aaron Volpatti - Maxime Lapierre - Dale Weise

Defense
Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alex Edler - Sami Salo
Keith Ballard - Andrew Alberts 

Goalies
Roberto Luongo
Cory Schneider

STAT WATCH: The Flyers have lost two straight at home to the Canucks and three straight in the series. Overall, the Flyers are 37-18-1 all-time against the Canucks in Philadelphia.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers


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About this blog
Frequent Flyers is your home for news and analysis of all things orange and black. Reach Frank at seravaf@phillynews.com.

Frank Seravalli Daily News Staff Writer
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