Know Your Enemy

Here are the Flyers numbers from behindthenet:

Sorted by QUALCOMP. Prospal is at the top because he spent most of the year in Tampa. Looking at his role in Philly, he should appear down around Briere/Hartnell.

Knuble is out with a torn hamstring (sounds uncomfortable), and Gagne is out with his year-long concussion. The injury reports say both are day-to-day. I'm guessing it's unlikely that we'll see either, and if we do thay will not be near 100%.

Looking at their last couple of games, it's hard to say for sure how the Flyers lineup will be arranged in this series. Knuble's loss made a large hole at EV and top unit PP which shuffled up the lines. In their game 7 we saw:

Umberger / Carter / Upshall
Kapanen / Richards / Hartnell
Prospal / Briere / Lupul
Thoreson / Dowd / Downie

Expect Modry to be in for Kukkonen. Downie shouldn't be a factor (read: risk of injury due to cheap shot). He only played 6.5 minutes in game 7.

Going back to Flyers/Caps game 4, Knuble (his last home game) was on Carter's RW and that line was Stevens' preferred against Ovechkin. They used Timonen/Coburn against Ovechkin all series. In Caps home games, it looks like Boudreau tried to get Ovechkin away from Carter/Knuble. After Knuble went down, Boudreau gladly went with Ovechkin against the Carter line shown above.

I think we can expect to see Timonen/Coburn on vs. the Habs #1. If the lines stay the same as above, Stevens will probably prefer Carter vs. the top line, Richards vs. the nominal #2 and Briere vs. Smolinski. At least he went that way in game 7 vs. Caps.

From Montreal's perspective... I have no clue who the defense pairs will match up against. Stevens seems to prefer balance across lines (although the Briere line will be, by definition, a softie). That makes it hard to pick a match for Komi/Markov. Let's just say the top 2 pairs will get almost all the EV icetime against the top 3 lines. Up front Carbo will probably prefer #1 vs. Carter, #2 vs. Richards and the Smoke line against Briere.

Without Knuble, the top PP will probably be Briere, Prospal, Lupul, Timonen and Richards. It's a PP nearly as good as the Habs'. On the upside, Philly's EV play is even worse than Mtl's.

In round 1 the bookies said Montreal 75% likely to win over Boston. This time they're only around 64%. Javageek says 59%, though I'm not sure if that figure takes home ice into account. Considering the loss of their #1 RW, I'd say the Flyers' stock has risen considerably since the start of the playoffs.


In round 2, it's Habs, Pens, Wings, Sharks.


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