Many of you have probably noticed but it's worth going over. Chris Neil
has played a key role this season shutting down opposing top lines alongside Zack Smith
and (now) David Dziurzynski. The play of that checking line has been a primary reason why the Sens currently sit second in the NHL in goals against per game at 1.81.
Looking ahead to Saturday, the Flyers are a team with plenty of firepower — they're sixth in the league in goals for per game at 2.91 — but are also prone to lapses in the back end — they're 23rd in the league for goals against per game at 3.00.
As someone who has been a contributor at both ends of the rink this season, Neil weighed in on what the Sens will be facing when they take on the Flyers...
On handling their offence:
They're a skilled team, they have a lot of offence, a lot of skilled players. You have to be aware of who's on the ice and when they're on the ice. Obviously if you're against the other team's top line you have to be able to shut them down, keep it simple and get pucks in deep.
On scoring goals:
We want to get some traffic on Bryzgalov and get pucks to the net. That's how goals are getting scored around the league; we have to get more goals like that. I think we can generate more offence by doing that.
Given the way the Sens like to play the matching game, expect to see a lot of Neil-Smith-Dziurzynski matched up against Philadelphia's top unit of Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. Ottawa has shut down top units for the most part this season and frustrated many of their matchups.
Don't be surprised if there happen to be fireworks between Neil and Hartnell either. They've been known to bother players from time to time.