Ryan Wilson: Know Thy Enemy: Philadelphia Flyers

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will be the best dressed team in hockey tonight. The Flyers are in town and for the occasion the Penguins will be donning their gorgeous throwback uniforms for the first time tonight. It will be the first time in 22 ½ years they have done so. I for one am very excited to see them in game action.

While we are on the jersey topic here is a lesser known jersey design that never saw the light of day (thankfully):

Unused @penguins 3rd jersey designs from the ’90s that you must see! BLOG: http://t.co/ucCKbh2bjh // pic.twitter.com/MmE0MZ08IH

— Icethetics (@icethetics) October 22, 2014

The game is on NBCSN as part of their rivalry series and for once they actually have a legitimate rivalry playing in it. Pierre McGuire will be in between the benches and I cannot wait to see how he handles himself doing a Penguins game. Tell me I’m not the only one who wants to hear “Well if I was the Penguins GM” comments tonight.

The Philadelphia Flyers come into Consol Energy Center sporting a 1-3-2 record. I personally don’t expect much out of the Flyers this season. I have them pegged for 7th in the division ahead of only the lowly Carolina Hurricanes. I have two reasons for my stance on the Flyers. Goaltender regression

By many accounts Steve Mason had a great season last year. In reality he had a good season which was great by his standards.

I consider last year to be an anomaly for Mason and would expect to see him below league average again this year. The sample size this year is incredibly small to this point but in five games Steve Mason’s EVSV% is at .893%.

Last year the Flyers ranked 18th overall in the NHL with an EVSV% of .922%, right around the league average. If my prediction holds true and Mason regresses this won’t be good news for the Flyers. Possession

Last year the Flyers weren’t great in the possession department. They had a Fenclose percentage of 48.2% which was 23rd overall in the league.

The Flyers have some really nice forwards that play for them but the back end will be what kills them. Losing Kimmo Timonen was a brutal loss for the team. He can’t be replaced and he was far and away their best possession driver from the defense position. Adding players like Andy MacDonald are not going to help in that department.

Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Wayne Simmonds are great players, but they aren’t enough to carry this weak back end.

The Flyers are currently 24th in the league with a Fenclose of 44.7%.

Some people have the Flyers finishing near the top of the division. I believe the Flyers are closer to Conner McDavid than they are a playoff berth. However, that doesn’t mean the Flyers can’t beat the Penguins tonight.

As for the home team do not expect their approach to this game to change from a personnel standpoint

Johnston on tonight’s lineup: “We’re going to stick with the same lineup that we’ve had.”

— Jason Mackey (@Mackey_Trib) October 22, 2014

Johnston is under the mindset of if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

Enjoy these beauties tonight

Thanks for reading!

Follow me on twitter Follow @GunnerStaal

This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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