18 November 2009
We're going going, back back, to Cali Cali. Yessireebob Flyers fans, get out your sunscreen, blow up your floaties, and get ready to stay up late, for tonight the Flyers begin a 5 game road trip that'll have them playing some of the best in the West. It kicks off tonight in LA as the Flyers take on the Kings. After Monday's solid home win the Flyers are now focused on playing good hockey on the road.
It'll be tough right out of the gate as the Kings present some pretty decent matchup challenges for the Flyers. Anze 'Livin' up to my potential' Kopitar is leading the league in points and is a big reason the Kings are in 2nd place in the Pacific. They have been getting great production from Ryan Smyth, but luckily for us that old-timer is out with an upper body injury. Goaltender Jonathan Quick is giving his team a fighting chance every night and their blueline is very solid with Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty logging tons of minutes. It's no wonder why this team is off to a good start. They have tons of talent and their young guys now have a few years experience. Dustin Brown, or 'Mike Richards:West', gets this team ready to play every night. Oh yeah, don't forget about Randy Jones. He has 4 points for the Kings since coming over to the club, including a shortie in his team's last game. Overall the Kings are still built for the future, yet there is no doubt that they can contend this year. Their forward depth is a bit of a concern, and until the team can win without Kopitar shouldering the load, they might have scoring issues. At times they are a bit sloppy on the PK, and right now are 27th in the league. This could be a big issue tonight where the Flyers are so dominant on the powerplay. But in order to get on the powerplay the Flyers need to muck it up and get pucks deep. Exploit some of the Kings weaker D pairings and attack when the time is right. Much like the Flyers, the Kings have some gritty guys to pay attention to. Jarret Stoll, Alexander Frolov, and Wayne Simmonds will all be tough to handle. Ex-Flyer Michal Handzus is yes, still alive, and will play in every situation for the Kings. Thankfully, Ryan Smyth and Rob Scuderi are both out tonight, which takes a chunk out of both their offense and defense.
For the Flyers, the important thing here is to play a full 60 minutes and expect a tight game. I'd like to see how the lines will play out, and a 3rd line of Power - X- Viva Laliberte might be fun to watch flying around the Staples Center. The first line has been left off the board for a while in 5-5 situations, a trend I think will stop tonight. The Kings focus has got to be on Carter-Rabbit-Breeze so expect the Richards line to get some great matchups, and hopefully either Hartnell or Mika can bury an offering from Richie. The defence has been great and I hope they got plenty of home-cooking before they left. Pronger, Razor and co. will have to withstand a tough 10 minutes to start this game. I expect our D to be the deciding factor in the game. It is better than the Kings and I expect them to shut down their number one scoring line. Then again it might be high scoring, but either way I expect it to be just like a great heavyweight fight, both teams trading shots until the other goes down like King Hippo. The X-factor will be Pronger and Lappy, two Western Conference vets will know how to approach the Kings. Expect Lappy to get an ovation from the Los Angeles crowd as the ex-King is still loved there. He'll be playing with some fire that hopefully is contagious. Yes, 'contagious fire'...I have invented a new disease. Expect Pronger to get booed to oblivion, but that shouldn't affect him all that much. Not after he dismantles the Kings net with a monster clapper that sends Quick's water bottle into the nosebleeds.
So the big Western Conference road trip begins tonight. We got Flyers:West tonight and it should be a beauty. Make sure you coffee up, puck drops at 10:30pm. There will be big hits, big goals, and big fights. I like the Kings a lot, and want them to win the West, but not tonight. Tonight, I hate the color purple, I hate Randy Jones, I hate Slovenian hockey players, I hate guys who have the same names as easy-listening surf-rock guitar players. I hate ex-Flyer coaches. I hate Zuuuuuuuus. I love this game and it'll be one of the best all year. Let's Go Flyers.
Oh yeah....ROAD TRIP!
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