The Canadiens are coming off an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins, while Philadelphia has been struggling out of the gate, posting a 5-6-4 record to date. If you think things have been getting hairy here in Montreal after a couple dismal performances and a 9-3-2 record, imagine what must have been said during Philadelphia's team-meeting, which they called in place of their scheduled practice yesterday morning in Verdun.
These teams have played some wickedly entertaining games in the past couple seasons--Montreal's speed against Philly's toughness--though its impossible to guess which two teams you are going to see tonight.
Will Montreal effectively utilize the speedy, skilled transition game that allowed them to dominate the Senators on Tuesday, or will they resemble the soft, sluggish and uninspired club that never really showed up in Toronto and Boston?
Will Philadelphia come out with the smashmouth mentality and explosive firepower that has been the trademark of the Flyers, or will they be exposed as the defensively inept and uncharacteristically disorganized club that needed 7 games to record their first win.
Photos at Habs Inside/Out's photo gallery may provide a hint as to Montreal's performance tonight: images from yesterday's practice session do not show a single smile... photos taken during practices prior to Columbus/Toronto and Boston were full of happy Habs, including this gem of Robert Lang. Happy Habs are bad Habs... will the reverse apply? One thing is (hopefully) for sure... with all the hullabaloo surrounding Georges Laraque's non-action so far this season (and don't think for a minute that he doesn't know it), the slightest affront by a Flyer tonight will awaken the big man from his slumber to re-assert himself as the Heavyweight Champion of the World... but then, maybe no affront is needed...