Flyers make rare trip to Edmonton to play Oilers
Wednesday, 02.22.2012 / 4:25 PM
Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing EditorFLYERS (33-19-7) at OILERS (23-30-6)
TV: CSN-PH, SNET-W
Philadelphia 4-5-1; Edmonton 5-4-1
This is the only meeting between the teams this season. In their only game last season, Sergei Bobrovsky
made 24 saves in a 4-1 Flyers win in Philadelphia on March 8, 2011. The teams last played in Edmonton more than two years ago -- a 1-0 Oilers win Feb. 3, 2010.
Can the emotion of the Flyers' overtime win in Winnipeg on Tuesday carry over to Edmonton? Or can the Oilers play spoiler in the Flyers' attempt to climb back up the Eastern Conference standings?
It's clear Ilya Bryzgalov
still has some work to do to win over fickle Philadelphia fans. After getting booed at home in Saturday's loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, he said, "I'll try to find peace in my soul to play in this city."
The reception was just as icy in Winnipeg on Tuesday, as Jets fans -- still upset from critical comments about the city Bryzgalov made last season when he was with the Phoenix Coyotes -- derisively chanted "Ilya, Ilya" for large parts of the game.
After the 5-4 overtime win, however, Bryzgalov joked that he appreciated the "support."
"I like it,"' Bryzgalov said. "It was a great atmosphere. … It was nice to hear cheering, 'Il-ya, Il-ya.' I never heard that before, anywhere. When 15,000 people support you, it's very impressive. Here, they were cheering. In Philly, they boo me."
Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin
has heard his name bandied about in trade rumors, but the veteran has a message for Oilers GM Steve Tambellini: I want to stay.
"The results aren't there this year again, but I think we're on the right track," Khabibulin told the Edmonton Journal. "And I really do like it here. You do want to play games that mean something and it would be nice to be in the playoffs but … I want to see this team succeed. When that happens, I want to be a part of it."
Khabibulin won't be a part of any success for the next few days, while he deals with a groin issue. He could return as soon as Feb. 26 -- the day before the trade deadline.
Khabibulin, 39, is 12-16-5 in 34 games, with a 2.60 goals-against average and .914 save percentage. He has one year left on his contract, and Tambellini said last week that while he expects to hear calls about Khabibulin's availability, he's not shopping the goaltender.
Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr
has 3 goals in his last two games. … With 1 goal and 2 assists Tuesday, Oilers center Sam Gagner
has 9 goals and 9 assists in nine February games.
Besides long-term injuries to forward Tom Sestito
(groin) and defenseman Chris Pronger
, the Flyers are fielding a healthy team. … Edmonton will be without Khabibulin (groin) and rookie forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Jagr's overtime goal Tuesday was the 16th of his NHL career, the most in League history. He had been tied with Mats Sundin, Sergei Fedorov and the Devils' Patrik Elias for the top spot.
Born in Calgary, Taylor Hall
was a Flames fan even when his family moved east to Windsor, Ont. So Tuesday was a big game for him for more than just the 6-1 Oilers victory.
Hall had a goal and an assist, his first points in six NHL games against the Flames. That they came at the Scotiabank Saddledome, a rink he skated in growing up, made it even more special.
"It's always in the back of your mind to play well against the team you grew up watching," Hall told the Edmonton Sun. "And I haven't even played well against them. It's nice to get that first point.
"It's too bad I don't have any family here anymore."