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NHL on NBCSN: Streaking Flyers host Blackhawks

Mar 18, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT

Philadelphia Flyers v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Philadelphia Flyers host the Chicago Blackhawks at Wells Fargo Center at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

When you consider how tight the playoff race in the Eastern Conference is, you’d probably never know how well the Flyers are playing of late.

Philly heads into Tuesday’s battle against Chicago winners of the past two games and nine of the past 12. You would think that kind of run would put some distance between them and the rest of the bunch in the Metropolitan Division but you’d be wrong. The Flyers sit in second place behind Pittsburgh just one point ahead of both the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets and three points ahead of the Washington Capitals.

Just think of where they’d be if they hadn’t been on a roll.

Leading the way of late for the Flyers is captain Claude Giroux. Over his past seven games, Giroux has four goals and 12 points and he along with his linemate Jakub Voracek (3-6-9 over the past seven games) have turned into a solid scoring duo. Add in Wayne Simmonds‘ power play scoring prowess (12 on the man advantage this season) and the Flyers offense is one to be wary of.

There’s a flipside to every coin, however, and the offense has had to be strong to help pick up Steve Mason. In his past 13 games, Mason has three shutouts (that’s good!) but also allowed 30 goals (that’s bad!).

After his hot start to the season, it’s been a little Jekyll and Hyde-ish for Mason, but more often than not the offense has picked him up. It’s a good thing to have help like that, but makes the prospect of heading into the postseason a bit daunting.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday night’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $350. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The Blackhawks haven’t exactly been a house of fire lately. Since returning from Sochi, they’re 4-4-0 and while that’s OK, they’ve been jumped in the standings by both the Blues and Avalanche.

source: Getty ImagesSeeing Chicago sitting in third place in the Central Division seems weird, but it’s not like they’re in a bad place. With 92 points they’re one back of Colorado and light years ahead of the wild card (12 points to be exact). They’re basically in a battle with the Avs for home ice in the first round as the Blues are nine points ahead of them.

With that kind of setup, you can’t really blame the Blackhawks for being so blasé of late. Don’t tell Jonathan Toews that, however, as he’s got eight goals in the past seven games and has scored in two straight games. Marian Hossa‘s return against Detroit on Sunday provided a lift to the offense that had just scored two goals in each of the previous three games.

It’s hard to find real faults for what the Blackhawks are doing. If nothing else, they’re still lacking a spark at center on the second line, but even with that Patrick Kane has five points in the past seven games.

Like last night’s game between the Wild and the Bruins, this one is a measuring stick for the Flyers against the Blackhawks. Winning nine of the past 12 is nice and all, but they’ll see how they really stack up against a definitive playoff team.

  1. chaser44 - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Huge game tonight, a little surprised they are not giving mason a night off after starting 9 straight. I know Emery got lit up last game against chicago and every point is precious. I just think it would help to give him a little rest. Look for a good game tonight hopefully the balanced scoring keeps going for the orange and black.

    • neonpep - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      Right on, let’s keep it going Flyers!

      • flyersfan85 - Mar 18, 2014 at 6:21 PM

        Lets go Flyers!!!!

    • joey4id - Mar 18, 2014 at 2:20 PM

      Playing in 67 games for a goalie is not unheard of. Six goalies played 67+ games during the last full season. With 15 games left to play Mason will hit that number. As long as the Flyers have not secured a playoff spot Berube has to go with #1 unless of injuries and 2 games in 24 (and even then). April 5th & 6th and 12th & 13th are the next scheduled back to back games. Flyers need only rest Mason in between games, and spare him during game day skates. If they’re getting blown out of a game then they can yank him.

      • flyersfan85 - Mar 18, 2014 at 6:24 PM

        Flyers need only aim for the 8th spot if Cindy and the gang are in the 1st seed. Anyone else would be a challenge.. the Pens..eh.. so let Mason.. rest if he needs.

      • thephillyfanclub - Mar 18, 2014 at 7:41 PM

        this is for flyerfan85- jesus dude are you kidding me, yeah the flyers played the pens really well over the weekend and they were impressive in both wins, but lets not forget that they were without 5 of there top performers. I think either way the flyers raise there game against the penguins but there are plenty of other teams I’d rather face in the first round, matter of fact the only team i would like to play less than the pens is the bruins, dont get all cocky just because we beat them twice over the weekend, they are still really good.

      • flyersfan85 - Mar 18, 2014 at 8:25 PM

        This is for PhillyFanClub

        Im that biig of a fan thatI think that we can. That is all.. should I come in with gloves on..nahhh..faq it. I think that the Flyers are way more dynamic then most and think we are one Weber away from being a true contender. So yeah Cindys chicks were down a few this weekend.. but I love who we are and if we get driven to the green…to be playing golf..im good with that as longs as everyone realizes that yep..we drop the gloves but..there is more to Philly.. if that isnt you.. sorry.. im a little more fervent.

        We may not win tonight..but this..”omg the Flyers cant win any games on this hard schedule”…hmm..it would seem maybe we can..

      • joey4id - Mar 18, 2014 at 8:33 PM

        I’m a little surprised you think the Flyers need only aim for 8th place. That leaves them very little margin for error. They better win win and win some more. If they aim for top three and fall a little short then that gives them a better at a wild card spot. BTW, how does a team aim just for the &th place?

      • flyersfan85 - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:23 AM

        Nahh Joey, you missed my point.

        PhillyFanClub is a dupeBS name for some Pens guy that has been moving from post to post with me. He is all bark without bite.. just felt the need to mention him as he is a prolific troll without merit or intellect.

        Anywho.. I want the Flyers to line up against the Pens as they are pretty easy confound..with obviousness. Seems dumb.. confounded by the obvious.. so are the Pens..

        The Pens are the easiest mark for the Flyers. Its pretty plain and simple that they fall apart when they play the Flyers because they are girls before the prom..

        How else could it be explained.. the Pens are looking at their oversized azz in the mirror and the rest of us are looking to scrap for position.

        Come what may.. I hate to say this.. but this isn’t our year. I don’t want Paul to trade G, V, Simmer, Couts, either Schenn, Read, and now MacD.

        Truthfully Couts or B Schenn for anyone not named God is a bad trade. But im talking politics now.

      • joey4id - Mar 19, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        flyersfan85, If I were a Pens fan I wouldn’t want them to meet the Flyers. I agree with you there. However, if I were a Flyers fan it would bother me that my team was playing to choose their opponent. What does it say about the mindset and character of the team? They have confidence they can beat the Pens, but after that they doubt their ability to go further. Berube has done an amazing job, and they players have responded very well. Don’t compromise what you’ve built by just trying to finish 8th to play the Pens.

  2. comeonnowguys - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    Come on, Teravainen. Friday too early?

    • blackhawksdynasty - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:19 AM

      Let’s take a deep breath and relax about TT. He’s just a kid who hasn’t proven anything at the NHL level. I’m as hopeful/excited as anyone else, but I’m trying to keep expectations in check. Let’s give the kid some time in Rockford to adjust, and go from there.

      • comeonnowguys - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:48 AM

        But… but… I don’t wanna?

      • blackhawksdynasty - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        Lol

  3. kastout11 - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    I was listening to Chris Terien w/Tony Bruno yesterday, and he thinks Mason will get a rest one game this week. I figured he would be in net against Chicago.

    • flyersfan85 - Mar 18, 2014 at 6:28 PM

      Wish we still has Therien.. beside Hatcher and Pronger, he was the last great Flyers Dman… although Kimmo has had some flashes..

  4. archarya - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    I believe that Emery is indeed making the start tonight. And i agree about Mason. The man needs some time off.

  5. laxman1944 - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    Just get a win…….especially after having your a$$es handed to you the last time they faced each other.

  6. bledalotofgreen - Mar 18, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    Mason just had a damn near month off for the Olympics…..he’s fine

  7. flyersfan85 - Mar 18, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    Effin right on.. Great game tonight. I know we are the underdogs versus the mighty Hawks.. and I am so glad do be done with the Pens debacle.. you know what I mean Hawks.. after the Soldier field game.. i know you know.

    Anywho.. I am looking forward to the a real eastern physical team and the west clashing and I know that we can provide a stronger game than Cindy’s crew.. kinda a “things to come” for Boston.

    Gonna go on the record early and say watch out for Downie.. as you know he is a loose cannon.. not responsible for anything he starts..

    Lets go Flyers..

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