Just the Facts
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
When: 8:00 PM
How to Watch: NBCSN, TVAS, SportsNet
How to Listen: 98.5 the Sports Hub
Opposing SBN site: Broad Street Hockey
Know the Enemy
- The Philadelphia Flyers are now tied with the Washington Capitals at the top of the MassMutual East division, with 15 points; Philly has the advantage with more regulation wins. The Bruins are just a point back on them in second.
- Leading Scorer: James van Riemsdyk, 5G-8A / 13PTS
- Notables: Kevin Hayes is tied in points with Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux, at 10. Missing still, however, is Sean Couturier - not due back for about another week after a gnarly-sounding rib injury.
- Brian Elliott is holding down the net, in comparison to Carter Hart’s varying performances, with a 2.22 GAA and a .932 save percentage (to Hart’s 3.33 GAA/.900 sv%)
Philly’s last loss was against Boston, at TD Garden... back on January 23, a lifetime ago. Since, the Flyers have won four, most recently back-to-back OT victories over the New York Islanders. Prior to those, two games against the New Jersey Vectors - I mean, Devils - went about as badly for NJ as you might expect. Here’s just hoping that the Flyers were in the clear before New Jersey’s positive tests shut down not just them, but the Buffalo Sabres as well, in the last few days.
Mentioned above, top two-way center Sean Couturier is going to be out for the Flyers for at least another week, so center depth is an advantage for Boston. The surprising scoring outburst from Joel Farrabee a few nights ago shouldn’t be cause for alarm, for David Pastrnak skates again. He may still be a stride slower than typical, but he’s clearly still got the touch.
In this condensed season, we should try not to panic when several top players take maintenance days, but Brad Marchand, Kevan Miller, Charlie McAvoy, and David Krejci ALL missing practice is challenging to stomach. And, we need to remember that the emergence of the Frederic-Coyle-Smith line has been a mask over the absence of both Jake DeBrusk and Ondrej Kase.
We’re definitely still missing Matt Grzelcyk’s presence, too, but the defense has been looking fine in the interim, a contrast to Philly’s sometimes chaotic deployment. That should be markedly improved since we last saw the Flyers, as Philippe Myers has returned from injury and started off on a great foot possession-wise.
Advantage in net also swings in Boston’s favor. Brian Elliott has been the better goalie in Philly on paper, though there is still room to grow for 22-year-old Carter Hart, and he’s been every bit as exciting to watch. Rask has faltered a bit, though again, he still looks solid positionally, so we should really be hoping for more defensive support. Halak continues to be an impressive “backup”... just, please, NOBODY tell him when he becomes the starter!!
Tape up the knuckles, Kevan!