Game 8: Shooting Down the Flyers

What is a man? A miserable pile of secrets.

Sometimes, though, those secrets come through in subtle clues and a goalie's mask.

Wunderkid goalie Sergei Bobrovsky of the Philadelphia Flyers had his goalie mask designed with jet fighters because "he likes fighter jets". What that says to me? He grew up dreaming of being a fighter jet pilot.

Think about the greatest fighter jet movies. The ones who inspired you as a kid to dream of kicking ass and breaking the sound barrier.

You are almost certainly thinking about Top Gun.

OK, so maybe five or six of you thought about Iron Eagle. I can understand that. I pity you, but I understand that.

Still, these are movies that show the thrill and the excitement of strapping yourself into a fighter jet, screaming into the skies, and taking down the bad guys. Just about any male of a certain age will get references to "Maverick", "Goose", or "Iceman."

But here's the thing - think about watching those movies from the prospective of a Russian.

Maybe he grew up hearing stories of Russian aces like Ivan Kozhedub, Lev Shestakov, or Grigoriy Rechkalov.

Maybe he grew up seeing the fast and furious Mig-29s and Su-27s of Voyska PVO and dreaming of getting to fight the enemies of the Rodina at twice the speed of sound.

Then some day, he gets a pirated tape or DVD about fighter jets, and he gets to watch some funny looking short guy with bad hair fly around, blow up a bunch of Russian fighters with Val Kilmer, and go off to bang Kelly McGillis.

No wonder he went into Hockey instead. Edit: Then, after I wrote all this, he doesn't even get to play tonight, with Peter Laviolette deciding to put Brian Boucher in goal instead.

Tonight the Jackets return to Nationwide Arena a perfect 3-0 on the road, and a shaky 1-3 at home. They face a Flyers team coming off a big 5-2 win over the Leafs on Saturday, with a 1-0-1 road record. The Jackets need a home win in the worst way tonight - continued home losses and ticket woes have people betting the attendance over/under at 10,700 this evening.

The Flyers have been a tough nut to crack for the Jackets - in their history, the Jackets have only beaten the Flyers once (a 3-0 shutout in 2008-9 for Steve Mason), with five regulation losses and three OT or shootout losses. (Of course, they've also only played the Flyers 10 times, counting tonight...) It's their first matchup against an Eastern conference team this season, and normally the Jackets match up fairly well with the East. With the Central Division looking like a meat grinder this year (all 5 Central teams are currently in playoff positions), points against the East are likely to be critical in the hunt for the postseason.

The Flyers have yet to win a game when they allow 3 or more goals, and Brian Boucher is letting at least 2 goals a game. If the Jackets can step up the pressure with another 40+ shot game like the delivered in Chicago, they should be able to crack this Flyers team and cruise away with a win.

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