The Philadelphia Flyers (56) and the Detroit Red Wings (57) separated by the slimmest point margins in the composite Eastern Conference standings. So, their matchup tonight at 7 p.m. EST on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia should be evenly balanced.
Both team's records are similarly modest, but their financial commitments are rightly tagged as brash. Philadelphia currently has $69.1 million in payroll commitments, while $66.2 million is being spent on this year's collection of Red Wings.
Offensively speaking, both squads have been mediocre so far this season. Philadelphia's 142 goals rank seventeenth in the National Hockey League. Detroit's 135 red-lighters rank twentieth overall.
The Red Wings have been the better defensive squad, yielding 144 goals, which ranks fourteenth in the NHL. The Flyers have yielded 158 goals, which ranks twenty-first overall.
One critical area where both franchises aren't similar is behind the bench.
Mike Babcock is working in his eleventh NHL season. After starting his head coaching career with the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, he's since led the Red Wings for the past nine seasons. In his career, the Ontario native has earned three Conference Championships (2002-03, 2007-08 and 2008-09) and lifted one Stanley Cup (2007-2008).
Craig Berube unexpectedly gained his first NHL head coaching job after the Flyers third game of this season. Since then the Alberta native and one of the Flyers all-time best enforcers during his playing days, has lifted this orange and black bunch to a 25-19-6 mark.
The Flyers dropped their last four consecutive games, while the Red Wings posted a 2-2 mark. So, there's enough incentive, if not momentum, for either team to take tonight's available points.