Flyers And Boudreau Meet Again

2 Dec

The Anaheim Ducks may be a Western Conference team, but they just got a familiar face behind their bench. It’s familiar to the Flyers anyway. Bruce Boudreau is coaching his second NHL team. Both times, his first opponent was the Flyers.

On Nov. 22, 2007 he was named the head coach of the Washington Capitals. The next day his team beat the Flyers 4-3 in overtime. Olaf Kolzig beat Martin Biron. Yes, a lot has changed since then and now, so have the Ducks. That year they were a playoff team; right now they are on the outside looking in.

Anaheim has won two of its last 15 contests. It is a team that needed a change. For a while there, it looked like the change could have been Bobby Ryan leaving town; instead, it was coach Randy Carlyle.

What does this change for Friday night’s contest against the Flyers? Probably not much. As the Flyers told reporters in California, they expect the Ducks to play with more desperation to show Boudreau they deserve more ice time.

For now, they’re still the same Ducks they were when the week started. They are still a team that allows 3.08 goals per game; that ranks them 22nd in the league. They are still the Western Conference’s worst team 5-on-5.

The Flyers also pointed out that when Peter Laviolette took over in Philadelphia, it took them a good month-plus to understand his system and put it to good use. Certainly the Ducks won’t grasp Boudreau’s system in their first game.

Nothing changes in that the Flyers need to keep an extra eye on the ageless wonder, Teemu Selanne who has 22 points in 24 games. The top line of Ryan, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are top scorers two through four on the roster. Ryan was taken off the top line in their last game by the now departed Carlyle.

Laviolette has always stuck by his mantra, saying his team will play its game and not base its game plan off of the opponent. The Flyers have had five long days to think about a 2-0 shutout loss to the New York Rangers.

Whether the extra days of practice have helped or hurt remains to be seen, but nothing will change about the approach against the Ducks. There’s a chance that the Ducks come out with a little bit of Washington flavor, but for the most part the Flyers won’t have to change much. The only thing they’ll want to change is the result against Boudreau coaching a new team for the first time.

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