FLYERS (29-28-15) at FLAMES (38-27-5)
TV: CSN-PH, SNW
Season series: On March 3 the Philadelphia Flyers rallied from a 2-0 third-period deficit to force overtime, but Jiri Hudler’s goal at 1:23 gave the Calgary Flames a 3-2 victory at Wells Fargo Center.
Flyers team scope: Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek has been the leading scorer among Austrian-born players for the past 10 seasons, but this season the Flyers’ Michael Raffl has matched him with 17 goals. Had it not been for a broken foot and a bout of pneumonia he’d likely have the lead. In his second season Raffl has been a solid utility player; in a 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday he started at center on the third line and finished at left wing on the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. “It doesn't matter for me,” Raffl said Wednesday, according to NJ.com. “If he [coach Craig Berube] wants me at center I’ll play center. If he wants me at backup goalie I’m going to dress as a backup goalie.” It’s likely Raffl remains on the top line Thursday. “Raffl knows what to do to make us better and make our line work,” Voracek said, according to NJ.com. Defenceman Michael Del Zotto, who has missed the past six games because of an upper-body injury, could play Thursday.
Flames team scope: After a 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday that knocked them out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot, the Flames weren’t overly concerned. “There’s a lot of hockey to be played,” forward Joe Colborne said Tuesday, according to the Calgary Sun. “We’re right in the thick of it. We take care of our business, again, we’ll be in the playoffs.” The Flames have 12 games remaining, and with as close as the Western Conference and Pacific Division have been, there’s lots of time to make up ground. “We have to battle back,” coach Bob Hartley said, according to the Calgary Sun. “No one will give us their spot. We’ll have to earn it. We knew it right from the start. We faced adversity, we battled all year, so we will not change. I have all the faith in the world in my players; it’s a great group. And I know one thing, we can count on them battling to the end.”