Game 40 Preview: Flyers at Avalanche

The Avalanche Flyers pics available included EXCLUSIVELY Galiardi, Yip, Anderson, JML, Jones and Quincey. So here's a picture of Steve Downie, because we miss him - Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Downie makes his return to Colorado with the red hot Philadelphia Flyers.

After an awful start the Flyers are hot, hot, hot right now. They roll into Avalanche country on a 4 game win streak, 3 of which have come on the road and all of which have come against the Western Conference (although... do Edmonton and Calgary count?). The Flyers offense, led by Claude Giroux, is firing on all cylinders, scoring 3 or more goals in their last 8 consecutive games. After beating Minnesota 4-1, Edmonton 4-3(SO), Vancouver 4-3 (SO) and Calgary (4-1) the Flyers will look to finish their bizarre former Northwest Divison roadtrip with a win at the Pepsi Center.

On the other end of the ice is an Avalanche team that has struggled to string together consecutive wins for the better part of a month. The Avalanche are in the midst of an all-important, season long homestand in which they face a number of teams lower than them in the standings. So far the Avalanche have picked up 3 of 4 possible points on this homestand, but they'll need to keep winning if they want to stay ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes and surging Dallas Stars.

Avalanche Projected Lineup:

Things are getting a little ummmm weird. Poor Nate.

Max Talbot - Matt Duchene - Jamie McGinn

Gabriel Landeskog - Paul America Stastny - Ryan O`Reilly

Cody McLeod - Nathan MacKinnon - John Mitchell (*shudder)

Patrick Bordeleau - Marc-Andre Cliche - Brad Malone

Patrick Roy has seen the light and fixed the lines according to Adrian Dater

Landeskog-​Stastny-Ma​cKinnon
Mc​Ginn-Duche​ne-O’Reill​y
McLeod-M​itchell-Ta​lbot
Malon​e-Cliche-B​ordeleau

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Andre Benoit - Cory Sarich

Ryan Wilson - Tyson Barrie

Varlamov

Philadelphia Projected Lineup:

Lots of juggling going on for the Flyers. This is what they went with on New Years Eve

Raffl - Giroux - Voracek

Hartnell - Schenn - Simmonds

Read - Couturier - Lecavalier

Rinaldo - Hall - Downie

Coburn - Timonen

Streit - Grossman

Schenn - Meszaros

Mason

Quick Hits:

  • Who in the world is Michael Raffl? On paper it looks like this guys is the Flyers equivalent of Per Ledin and Joakim Lindstrom. He's an undrafted left winger from Sweden with 2 goals in 28 games. Right on.
  • After a terrible start, the Flyers have climbed their way back into the playoff picture. Going 7-2-1 in their last 10 the Flyers sit 3rd in the MetropLOLitan division, just 1 point back of the Washington Capitals. Lots of people were counting the Flyers out at the beginning of the year, but the Metropolitan division is honestly so bad that the Islanders (13-21-7) could still probably make the playoffs in it.
  • Steve Downie makes his return to Colorado after being traded home to Philadelphia in October. Players usually come out with a little extra jump against their former teams, but with Downie's style it's hard to picture exactly what that will look like against his recent teammates. Does Downie go all crazy eyes on any and all Avs? Does he go after Landeskog for the training camp hit which some Denver Post reporters speculate caused bad blood between the agitator and his captain? Or does he just kid of disappear on the Flyers 4th line (which has been a trend lately) as Mike Chambers notes Downie has seen a steady decline in his average ice time lately, and played under 10:00 in the team's last game.
  • Hey haters, Steve Downie is on the Flyers 4th line tonight, while Max Talbot is on the Avs 1st/2nd line. Does it make sense by either coach? Doesn't matter Talbot wins.
  • Oh and Brian Burke, I dreamed that Erik Johnson scores in this one, better put him on the ice.
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