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CRUNCH WEEK FOR THE FLYERS & 76ERS

In Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Flyers on March 4, 2012 at 11:52 am

It’s pretty safe to say that this is a huge week for both the Flyers and the 76ers. The Flyers are struggling with injuries having lost James van Riesmsdyk for the season with a broken foot. Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn and Andres Meszaros are also banged up on defense. Add these guys to the “normal” aches and pains of being 63 games in to an NHL season and the Flyers could be in some trouble. This week brings four very tough games against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on the road tonight, home against the Western Conference Central 1st Place Detroit Red Wings, home against the Eastern Conference 1st Place Florida Panthers and at Toronto against the Maple Leafs. Washington and Toronto are both in the 3rd place in their divisions and fighting for playoff spots. If the season ended before today’s games both would be out of the playoffs by a couple points so these games are very important. Each game is very important for the Flyers as they try to stay in the playoff hunt. They got better goaltending from Ilya Bryzgalov on the west coast trip but the offense went to sleep. Bryz warming up is a great sign for the Flyers moving down the stretch. Playing good defense also helps with the goaltending. Did you notice that the New York Rangers are running away with the Eastern Conference? The Rangers have only given up 130 goals in 63 games. They are playing solid hockey and lead the Penguins by 10 points and the Flyers by 12. The Flyers on the other hand have given up 191 goals in 63 games. The Flyers need some players to pick up their offensive game down the stretch as well. What has happened to rookie Sean Couturier? Couturier has 1 goal and 0 assists in the last 5 games and Danny Briere has just 13 goals on the season. He needs to heat up!! Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds can’t carry the goal scoring. My thinking is that the Flyers need 6 points this week, 5 at the minimum to hold their ground.

The 76ers also have their hands full this week. They have played solid throughout the season having really only one lull all season. With that said the Boston Celtics are still just 3 games behind and riding a 3 game winning streak right now. The Celtics come to the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night in an important Atlantic Division game. Before Wednesday though, the 76ers have back-to-back games Sunday and Monday against the 1st Place in the Central Division Chicago Bulls (30-8) and at Milwaukee to face the Bucks. Following the Celtics game is another home game against the New Orleans Jazz on Friday night. This is 4 games in 6 nights this week but 3 of the 4 are at home, which will help. The 76ers are ranked #1 in points per game allowed in the NBA, the Bulls are 2nd and the Celtics are 3rd so expect low scoring games against them. The 76ers can probably afford to lose to the Bulls, especially with the Celtics playing the Knicks this afternoon and they could lose. They need to win the games against the lesser teams, Milwaukee and New Orleans, and need to beat Boston. A win against the Celtics would be a two game swing in the standings. Doug Collins will have the team ready to play. They need to stick to their fundamentals of good defense and limiting turnovers while getting contributions from the whole team.

It’s big week for our teams to stand up and be counted!!!  

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