Wings aim to tie record against Flyers
Sunday, 02.12.2012 / 12:02 AM
NHL.comFLYERS (31-17-7) at RED WINGS (37-17-2)
: NBCSP (HD), TSN2
: Philadelphia 4-3-3; Detroit 7-2-1.
This is the first of two meetings, with the other to be played on Mar.ch6. In their only meeting last season, the Flyers won for the first time in 22 years in Detroit when they beat the Red Wings 3-2 on Jan. 2, 2011.
All the eyes will be trained on Joe Louis Arena on Sunday night, as Detroit attempts to tie the NHL record for consecutive home wins with 20. The last team to achieve that feat? The 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers, whose current team is looking to rebound from a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon.
"I like the points more than anything," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "But when you can have a record, you might as well tie it … [and] see if you can break it. But Philly's going to be a tough opposition for us."
For the second time in a week, Philadelphia fell to the Rangers by a 5-2 score on Saturday afternoon. It was the Flyers' seventh straight loss to their Atlantic Division rival, and opened up a six-point gap between the teams in the divisional race. The Flyers conceded three power-play goals on seven chances in a typically physical affair.
"I was a little disappointed with the effort, actually," Philadelphia defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "The emotional level, top team in the conference, league. It was a big game for us, and I was expecting more."
While they still sit just outside the top three in the East with 69 points, the Flyers have lost five of seven games since the All-Star break – all against Eastern opponents. A streak-snapping win in Detroit could go a long way in easing the recent struggles.
Of all 19 home wins that have Detroit in this record-setting position, Friday's 2-1 shootout win against Anaheim might be the most representative of the Red Wings uncanny ability to fight and finish. The Ducks outshot the Wings, 30-24, had one more power-play opportunity and six more takeaways. Once again, however, Detroit prevailed in the shootout for the seventh time in eight chances. With goalie call-up Joey MacDonald
in net for an injured Jimmy Howard
, this shootout looked in doubt, but MacDonald saved from Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan – to go along with 29 saves – to seal the win.
"Of course it does," said MacDonald, when asked whether the streak weighed on him in the waning moments. "Eighteen straight and you're in a shootout and you know you have three shooters [to face]. We scored. [Pavel Datsyuk
] got a nice one and when [Bertuzzi] got that one, it put a little more pressure on me. I didn't want to go into any extra shooters. I just tried to stay out and stay big and made the save."
Wayne Simmonds has been a rare bright spot for the Flyers since the break with 5 goals and 2 assists in his last five games.
Flyers starting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov missed Saturday's game against New York with flu-like symptoms. Jakub Voracek left that game with a nupper-body injury, and James van Riemsdyk (concussion) and Blair Betts (bone bruise) are out indefinitely. … Danny Cleary
will miss Sunday’s game versus Philadelphia with a lower-body injury, Howard is out 4-6 weeks with a broken right index finger and Patrick Eaves
is out indefinitely with a concussion and jaw surgery.
Statistically, Philadelphia has the best chance of any in the League of ending Detroit's home supremacy. Their 18-8-2 record away from home is the NHL's best, and Philadelphia has more away goals (87) and away power-play goals (25) than any team besides Vancouver.
"They seem to be real comfortable here and find a way. It's fun that we're going to have Philly in here. We'll have a good skate tomorrow and (try to) tie that record. I haven't even thought about that record until now, so we might as well tie it, with Philly coming in here." – Detroit coach Mike Babcock