The Philadelphia Flyers 2013-2014 schedule has been released and the team will be playing in the newly created Metropolitan division. This Eastern Conference division includes the New York Rangers, The New York Islanders, The New Jersey Devils, The Washington Capitals, The Pittsburgh Penguins, The Carolina Hurricanes, the Columbus Blue Jackets and of course, The Philadelphia Flyers. There are some key games on this newly released schedule that any Flyer fan will not want to miss.
WED OCT 2, 2013 VS the Toronto Maple Leafs (Home Game)
The Season opener for any team is always a must watch as it will reveal if the team is ready to go. If the team wins, their confidence is high and they can climb to the top of the standings early. If they lose, it is an uphill battle and the team will questions themselves. The Leafs make a perfect opponent for the Flyers home opener as there is some recent history between them. It is still unclear who won the Luke Schenn for JVR trade but it is always interesting to see how JVR plays in a uniform other than the Flyers. There were also rumors in the off-season about the Flyers expressing interest in getting goaltender Jonathan Bernier from the Los Angeles Kings. Those rumors were put to rest when Bernier was traded to Toronto. If he starts in this game, it will be interesting to see how he plays. If he can become an elite starting goaltender, the Leafs will become true contenders. The Flyers were 1-2 against the Leafs last year and will want to prove they are the better team, especially in front of their home crowd.
THU OCT 17, 2013 VS the Pittsburgh Penguins (Home Game)
There really isn’t much to say about this one. Whenever these two teams go at it, it is some of the most entertaining hockey one will ever see. These two hate each other and their first match of the season should be a dandy. The Penguins lost Jarome Iginla and Tyler Kennedy in the off-season so it will be curious to see if they will still be the offensive powerhouse that they were last regular season. With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins will likely still cause lots of problems for Steve Mason and the Flyers. The Flyers would like to get the best of the Penguins this year after going 1-3 against them last season, including a 5-4 loss where the Penguins came back from a big Flyers lead.
THU OCT 24, 2013 VS the New York Rangers (Home Game)
This rivalry game should be a dandy. John Torterella was fired as coach of the Rangers in the off-season as he failed to help the talented Rangers win a cup. Things got so bad for the Rangers last season that Brad Richards was even a healthy scratch. It will be interesting to see how the Rangers play under new coach Alain Vigneault as his style is a little bit different from Torts. The games between the Flyers and Rangers are usually low scoring as the Rangers use smart defensive hockey to shut down the offence first Flyers. For this reason, the Rangers always seem to have the Flyers number. Things could change next year for the Rangers under a new coach.
SAT NOV 2, 2013 VS the New Jersey Devils (Away Game)
The Flyers are going to see a lot of the Devils this season so the first game is always crucial. All hockey fans are dying to see how the Devils will hold up after losing their top forward Ilya Kovalchuk to the KHL. The Devils always seem to give the Flyers problems but New Jersey has lost two of their most deadly Flyer killers in Kolvachuk and David Clarkson. The Devils do have stellar goaltending with Martin Broduer and Cory Schneider likely splitting duty next season but this game will tell if the Flyers can truly become the better team.
WED NOV 27, 2013 VS the Tampa Bay Lightning (Away Game)
The Philadelphia Flyers signed ex Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier to a five-year contract this summer. Lecalvier was bought out by Tampa after spending his entire NHL career with them, including a Stanley Cup victory in 2004. Expect it to be an emotional night in Tampa as the crowd is likely to give Vinny a lengthy applause for all his hard work. Other than the Vinny storyline, it will be very entertaining to get a look at the Bolts third overall pick in the draft this year Jonathan Drouin. If this youngster lives up to the hype, it won’t be long before the Flyers will have to find a way to shut down him and Steven Stamkos. Drouin also says his favorite player in the NHL is Claude Giroux so it will be great to see Drouin play against his idol.
WED DEC 11, 2013 VS the Chicago Blackhawks (Away Game)
This rematch of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals will make for great hockey in many different ways. It is always a true test when a team goes up against the defending Stanley Cup champions. The Flyers will get to see in December how they really stack up against one of the best. Philly also signed goaltender Ray Emery to a contract in the off-season. The ex Chicago Blackhawk had a phenomenal season with the Hawks last year but was behind Corey Crawford. Here is Emery’s time to prove to Chicago that he is capable of being a starting goaltender.
THU DEC 12, 2013 VS the Montreal Canadiens (Home Game)
Danny Briere returns to the Wells Fargo Center for the first time after being bought out in the off-season by the Flyers. Briere is a great player but his contract was too much to handle with his declining production. At 36 years of age, it will be great to see what Briere can do with a new team. The Flyers had too much young talent wanting to climb up into major offensive roles so there really wasn’t anywhere for Briere to go. On Montreal, expect Briere to play on the second or third line and get plenty of power-play time.
THU DEC 19, 2013 VS the Columbus Blue Jackets (Home Game)
Steve Mason of the Flyers taking on Sergei Bobrovsky of the Blue Jackets. Mason was traded to the Flyers this year by Columbus while Bobrovsky was traded last year to the Blue Jackets by the Flyers. Bobrovsky was traded by Philly due to the signing of Ilya Bryzgalov two years ago. The move came to hurt the Flyers after Bobrovsky won the Vezina trophy in his first season with the Jackets. Columbus felt comfortable dealing Mason to the Flyers this year because of Sergei’s brilliant play. Steve Mason won the Calder trophy in his rookie year with Columbus but could never rediscover that elite talent in the following years. The Flyers took a gamble on Mason and hope to prove to Columbus, as the Blue Jackets did to the Flyers with Bobrovsky, that you can’t give up on a player too early.