The Philadelphia Flyers have won two-straight games and are looking to create a different streak of their own on Thursday evening. A win against the Canucks, who gave them fits at the Wells Fargo Center earlier this season, would make it three-in-a-row for the Orange and Black. It took a great effort from the second line to get the win over Edmonton, Philadelphia will definitely need that again against Vancouver.
Here are the projected lines, pairings, and five things to watch for in tonight’s game.
Sweeping a trip in Western Canada
The Flyers are trying to win their third-straight game and sweep a road trip through Western Canada. The last time the Flyers swept the three Western Canadian teams was 2013-14, prior to the new year. Vancouver is on a three-game winning streak of their own and have been putting up good numbers in those wins. A win in Vancouver would be huge for a team that had just recently lost 10-straight. They haven’t wavered their confidence in each other, the coaches, or the organization. This is a team that wants to thrive off adversity and these previous two games show that. Philadelphia is looking to change their luck around and make a run in the Metropolitan Division.
Boeser’s beautiful shot
Brock Boeser gave the Flyers fits in Philadelphia earlier this season. His two goals helped lead the Canucks to a 5-2 victory at the Wells Fargo Center. Boeser is a point-per-game player for Vancouver. The 2015 first-round pick has scored two goals in his last six games and has only recorded points in two of the previous six games. The reigning rookie of the month is someone to watch for heading into tonight’s game.
Secondary scoring leads the way
Michael Raffl has been on fire of late, but he won’t say that. He’ll tell you that he’s been playing the same way all season long, but that the shots are starting to fall for him. He’s right to say that, especially because Raffl has been one of the team’s strongest forwards in puck possession and always has his nose in on the play. Raffl playing alongside Jake Voracek and Valtteri Filppula has allowed the forward to produce more. If the line stays the same for an extended period of time, then that could be good news for the secondary scoring of the Flyers. In their last two wins, it was secondary scoring that has led the way.
Filppula, Raffl, Scott Laughton, Dale Weise, Wayne Simmonds, and Jordan Weal have all scored goals for the Flyers since Monday. Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Voracek, however, are still producing points and helping generate offense. That’s what this team was doing so well to start the year. That’s what they need to continue doing if they’re going to keep this stretch of good hockey going.
Claude Giroux has flown a bit under the radar this season, but that’s a good thing. The Captain isn’t getting criticized for his ‘lack of production’ and is doing all of the little things on the ice for the Flyers. He is helping this team lead the league in face off percentage, even during his switch to wing. Giroux continues to be a facilitator on the ice, but has shown that he still has that scoring touch. The veteran forward has 11 goals and is just three away from tying last season’s total.
Projected forward lines
Claude Giroux – Sean Couturier – Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl – Valtteri Filppula – Jake Voracek
Dale Weise – Nolan Patrick – Travis Konecny
Taylor Leier – Scott Laughton – Jordan Weal
Healthy Scratch: Jori Lehtera
Defense leaning on top pairs
Not only is Dave Hakstol relying on his veterans with his forwards, playing Travis Konecny and Nolan Patrick in limited minutes, but he is also doing the same for his defense pairings. Andrew MacDonald and Ivan Provorov are being leaned on heavily, especially of late. Both played above 25 minutes in Wednesday’s win, which gives a cause for some concern in regards to fatigue. Travis Sanheim played the least amount of minutes on the blue line once again, even behind Mark Alt, who was filling in for the injured Brandon Manning.
The Flyers now have to play Sanheim with Manning out of the lineup, though he should be playing more by default anyway. If Hakstol wants to see what he can get out of his young defenseman, he needs to get him on the ice in crucial situations. Sanheim would be a perfect fit on the second power play unit, but he hasn’t seen much (if any) time on the ice. It’ll be interesting to see how Hakstol utilizes his defensemen in the second game of this back-to-back.
Projected defensive pairs
Ivan Provorov – Andrew MacDonald
Shayne Gostisbehere – Robert Hägg
Travis Sanheim – Mark Alt
Healthy Scratch: TJ Brennan
Suspended: Radko Gudas
Injured: Brandon Manning
Riding the Moose
Brian Elliott has stopped 66 of his last 70 shots faced, good enough to help the Flyers clinch huge wins over the Oilers and Flames. With Michal Neuvirth out for at least a week with an injury, Elliott will be relied on to carry the load. Alex Lyon is with the team as a backup, basically in case of emergency. Expect Elliott to start the remainder of the time Neuvirth is out of the lineup.
Puck drop is set for 10:00 p.m. in Vancouver.
Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images
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