The Philadelphia Flyers are looking to continue their stretch of great hockey. They’ve won four straight including a huge win over the Vegas Golden Knights. A tough test over the course of the next few weeks leading up to the trade deadline will be very important for the Orange and Black. On the docket this week are three Metropolitan Division games and a chance to get within even closer striking distance of the top-seeded Capitals.
Here are the projected lines, pairings, and five things to watch for in tonight’s game against the Devils.
Keep momentum going, but without chaos
The Flyers have benefitted from some luck over their last two games, but they’ve won them both. The barely escaped a win over the Coyotes, because of bad turnovers, and were able to get a win against the Golden Knights despite not having a shot advantage and barely reaching 20 for the game.
That’s not a bad thing though, because it hasn’t been a theme for the season. They’ve had those games where they’ve outshot and outplayed an opponent but lost, or didn’t get two points. But they’ve learned from it and have been able to battle through some adversity, especially over the last few games, to grab points and put themselves in a pretty comfortable spot in the playoff race moving forward.
That continues this evening, but they’ll need to limit mistakes in their own end. Turnovers, failed clears, and terrible positioning have all almost led to losses and points lost this season. The Flyers need to clean it up and get back on track.
Need a strong push
The Flyers aren’t going to be able to sit back and play dump and chase hockey like they did over the final 20+ minutes of hockey against Vegas. They are going to need to come out of the gate firing, like they did against New Jersey earlier this season at the Wells Fargo Center. That’s the key in the game. If they can get out to a hot start, they’ll be able to play their game for the final 40 minutes of regulation and likely secure a win.
Top line continues to dominate
After calling himself out for his performance against the Hurricanes, Claude Giroux is on Fire. He is now top-5 in the NHL in scoring, tied with Jake Voracek, and is looking to put his team further up the Eastern Conference standings. They’ve slowed creeped their way up and a lot of it is due to the play of their top line of Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Travis Konecny.
Konecny is having a career year and, since being placed on the top line, has 18 points in his last 18 games. That’s dominance and confidence for a kid with little over a year’s worth of NHL experience.
That confidence has boiled over to Nolan Patrick, who continues to thrive at the second line center position – being in the middle of two strong players like Voracek and Wayne Simmonds. The Flyers are going to need their top performers to set the tone and continue their dominant stretch of hockey to lengthen their race up the standings.
Projected forward lines
Michael Raffl – Scott Laughton – Jordan Weal
Jori Lehtera – Valtteri Filppula – Dale Weise
Healthy Scratch: Taylor Leier
Top pair has been a godsend
Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere have been leaps and bounds better than any pairing the team has had in a long time. That’s not a knock on any of the previous teams, it’s just a statement of how good Ghost and Provy have been. Those two continue to thrive every night and are making each other better with each shift they take. They are the anchors to a rather struggling blue line and need to continue to lead the way for the Orange and Black.
Projected defensive pairs
Robert Hägg – Andrew MacDonald
Brandon Manning – Radko Gudas
Healthy scratch: Mark Alt
All on Neuvy’s shoulders
After Brian Elliott left Saturday’s win in the midst of the shootout because of a lower-body injury, Michal Neuvirth came in and played extremely well. Elliott could be sidelined a little because of this injury, meaning that Neuvirth will be the go-to guy until Elliott is ready to go. Neuvirth was outstanding in a huge win over the Vegas Golden Knights. He’ll get the nod against the Devils this evening.
The Flyers take on the Devils at 7 p.m.
Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images
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