The Philadelphia Flyers were defeated by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second-end of a home-and-home matchup this weekend in Ohio. But, that road loss obviously didn't stop the Flyers' eight-game home winning streak (the longest home ice winning stretch since the fall of 2005), which can be extended by a victory over the Minnesota Wild at the Wells Fargo Center today. The pre-Christmas Eve tip-off will be shown live on Comcast SportsNet (CSN) Philadelphia starting at 7:30 p.m.
Mike Yeo's team currently ranks fourth in the National Hockey League's Central Division with 45 points (20-13-5). While his offensive hasn't been humming this season (87 goals scored, which ranks twenty-fifth in the NHL), his defensive has been relatively tight (92 goals allowed, which ranks ninth in the League).
The rise of Claude Giroux is clearly the most encouraging development that Craig Berube has seen from the bench during the past few weeks. 'G' currently has 31 points (9 goals, 22 assists), which leads the team.
The unexpected early return of Vincent Lecavalier against Columbus on Saturday, necessitated by Steve Downie's recent upper-body injury, was clearly welcomed by the 'Chief'. The fine offensive performance of that veteran forward served as one of the only positive points early in the season.
The Flyers should continue their Metropolitan Division climb if Giroux and Lecavalier remain in the lineup for an extended period of time. Two sharp scoring lines are always harder to defend against than one.
As all hockey fans know, the steady play of Steve Mason has been one of the main stories of this season. As long as the 2008-09 Calder Memorial Trophy winner keeps the crease secured, this Flyers' squad has a chance to regain playoff access.