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Flyers @ Predators Preview: Here Come The Road Warriors

At 16-6-2, Kimmo Timonen and the Philadelphia Flyers boast the NHL's top road record.
At 16-6-2, Kimmo Timonen and the Philadelphia Flyers boast the NHL's top road record.

The Nashville Predators host a high-profile contender in the Eastern Conference tonight in the Philadelphia Flyers (7:00 p.m. on FS-TN). Can the Preds keep up their strong play on home ice (9 wins in their last 11) against the top road team in the entire NHL?

Let's find out after the jump...

Thinking of going to tonight's game? Check the re-sale market at TiqIQ!

Tale Of The Tape

Philadelphia (26-12-4) at Nashville (24-15-4)
PHI Offense vs. NSH Defense NSH Offense vs. PHI Defense
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
PHI Offense 3.1 (2nd) 32.1 (5th) 9.6 (2nd) 2.8 (25th) 30.1 (19th) 907 (24th) PHI Defense
NSH Defense 2.4 (9th) 30.7 (24th) 922 (10th) 2.2 (20th) 26.7 (27th) 8.3 (14th) NSH Offense
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %
Special Teams
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
PHI 5-on-4 6.6 (8th) 46.9 (18th) 14.0 (7th) 6.1 (18th) 40.2 (2nd) 848 (27th) PHI 4-on-5
NSH 4-on-5 6.7 (21st) 52.7 (20th) 874 (18th) 7.3 (4th) 50.5 (14th) 14.5 (5th) NSH 5-on-4
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %

The Flyers stand out in pretty much all aspects of the game, so the Preds will have to play a disciplined 60 minutes tonight, both in terms of staying out of the penalty box, and playing a solid team game.

Philadelphia Flyers

As a major market team intent on competing for the Stanley Cup each season, the Flyers are perhaps the most fascinating team in the league to watch ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline on February 27. Team captain Chris Pronger has been shut down for the year due to a concussion, so there's a gaping hole that they will look to fill on their blueline, and thanks to the magic of Long Term Injured Reserve, they can bring on a decent-size salary to do it.

Expect Philly to take a good look at pretty much every Top 4 defenseman available at the deadline, but whether or not they can afford the price in hockey assets to pick one up is the big question:

A lot of people who don't watch the Flyers on an everyday basis see some of the personnel on defense here and think there's trouble brewing, but with [Marc-Andre] Bourdon playing so well and Gus [Erik Gustafsson] ready to come back, it's not crazy to think that the blueline could work out well the rest of the year. It all hinges on how Gustafsson plays.

If Gus plays well, I'm not sure the cost of acquiring any of those guys -- Schenn, Suter or Gleason -- is worth it in terms of what you'll gain this season. You'll lose picks, you'll lose current roster players, you might even lose James van Riemsdyk and the world of potential that still surrounds him. All to fill a void that might not really be there yet.

In that sense, the Flyers might be better off shedding less now and picking up a guy to prop up the bottom-four, not the top-four. Luckily, there's still time until the deadline for this stuff to sort itself out.

- Travis @ Broad Street Hockey

Up front, however, the Flyers boast a pretty impressive array of talent. Former Pred Scott Hartnell is having a big year, Jaromir Jagr has impressed in his return from the KHL, and former Preds captain Kimmo Timonen stands 3rd in assists among all NHL defensemen right now. The sensation, however, has been Claude Giroux, who has taken his game up another level to rank among the game's elite scorers this season (and one of the top jersey-sellers, too):

Claude Giroux

#28 / Right Wing / Philadelphia Flyers



Jan 12, 1988

2011 - Claude Giroux 38 18 31 49 3 16 5 0 5 106 16.9

After dropping the Winter Classic 3-2 to the New York Rangers, Philadelphia has won 4 out of their last 5, and is keeping pace with the top teams in the East.

Philadelphia Flyers Last 5 Games

@ New York Islanders Thu 01/12 W 3 - 2
@ Carolina Tue 01/10 W 2 - 1
@ Ottawa Sun 01/08 L 4 - 6
Ottawa Sat 01/07 OT - W 3 - 2
Chicago Thu 01/05 W 5 - 4

Nashville Predators

Expect a "steady as she goes" approach from Nashville, as the team is playing pretty well right now, with 6 wins in the last 7 games. Yesterday at practice the lines remained the same as they've been lately, and Jerred Smithson remains out of the lineup with his lower body issue.

Even though the don't play the Flyers often, one guy who has enjoyed some success against them is Martin Erat, with 4 goals and 3 assists in 7 career games with Philly.

Martin Erat

#10 / Left Wing / Nashville Predators



Aug 29, 1981

2011 - Martin Erat 35 9 18 27 2 10 1 1 2 53 16.9