Niitty-less Flyers Storm the ATL


Hockey is a game in which few things are certainties. Who knows that will result in a suspension? On which given day will a Cup contender get smoked by a team from Florida? Why would anyone rather have a team in Phoenix than Hamilton, Ontario? No one knows, sadly. 

But one of the few things you could say with near certainty in the past few seasons was that the Flyers would beat the Atlanta Thrashers, and that Antero Niittymaki would get the W. He simply owned them while he was a Flyer. Over the course of his career, Niitty is 14-0 when playing against Atlanta. But, he's gone now, and the Flyers' new backup, Brian Boucher, will look to pick up where he left off.  

The Orange & Black are banged up right now, with a handful of players lost to injury and some at less than optimal shape after a battle with the Sabres yesterday. The good news is, Danny Briere returns to the lineup after serving two games in the catered sin bin. The Flyers could use his offensive spark, as well as simply his presence as a healthy skater in the lineup. 

Following a nice crest of wins, the Flyers are losing in bunches right now. We can point to the injuries, the long and far away road trip, or communism, but I'm willing to bet that John Stevens won't allow any of that talk tonight before they take the ice. The longer the Flyers sit in the middle of the Eastern Conference pack, the worse it is for their coach's job security.

Rule #76: No excuses, play like a champion, gentlemen. 

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