Both teams are coming off of humbling losses to teams they should have beaten heading into tonight's contest, but despite losing 2-0 to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night and having won just three times in their past ten games, Philadelphia's situation is nowhere near as dire as the Flames', who must win tonight in order to keep pace with the eighth-place Stars.
In order to do so, the Flames have recalled (drum-roll please)...Guillaume Desbiens. The 26-year-old has two goals and 11 assists in 51 games this season, but has amassed 102 penalty minutes along the way, leaving little doubt about the likely reason for his call-up. Desbiens looks to replace Krys Kolanos, who was waived today, alongside Roman Horak and Tim Jackman.
On Thursday night, however, is was the fourth line of Lance Bouma, Matt Stajan, and Tom Kostopoulos who stole the show, playing almost thirty minutes combined and finishing +3 in EV scoring chances. Finding ideal circumstances for this line to achieve similar success against the Flyers tonight will be much more difficult for Brent Sutter, as Philly has players capable of inflicting damage offensively on all four lines.
The Flames will also have to contend with a reformed Flyers defence tonight. The team has recently bolstered its blueline ahead of the Monday's NHL trade deadline by adding both Nicklas Grossman and Pavel Kubina. Kubina is not he defender he used to be but is still capable of logging significant minutes and is certainly a threat on the powerplay while Grossman comes to Philadelphia as an apt penalty-killer and stay-at-home defender at just 27-years-old.
As for the Flames, they will hope for a much better showing from the top line tonight then they saw against the Coyotes, or this game could get ugly. Jarome Iginla and Co. saw a lot of the Coyotes' fist line on Thursday night and did not fare well, so Brent Sutter will probably have to make some attempts to re-configure his lineup faced with the threat of Hartnell, Giroux, and Simmonds.
In net, Miikka Kiprusoff will do battle with the infamous Ilya Bryzgalov. Kipper was good but received little help from the rest of his team in the final forty minutes of Thursday's game while a good game from Bryz was rendered all for naught by a fruitless Flyers offence, so it's likely that both goalies will play an important role in tonight's result.
Hopefully that means a meltdown on Bryzgalov's part.