Did it seem like something was missing from your life in the past five days? Some sort of feeling? Maybe it was agony? Whatever it was, it’s back tonight: the Flyers are back in town, playing a hockey game.
The time between the Flyers’ last extended break over Christmas and their just-ended bye week was, to be sure, not a very pleasant one for the team or its fans. As a result, the Flyers, as we expected they would at the beginning of the bye week, currently find themselves out of a playoff spot, though not by that much — they enter tonight tied with Toronto in points for the eighth spot in the East, though they’ve played three more games than the Maple Leafs.
A playoff spot is certainly within grasp for the Flyers. But some things are going to need to change, and soon.
Fortunately, you would think this weekend would be a good chance to get things moving in the right direction. Tonight, the Flyers will face off with the Devils, who lost last night against Montreal and are just generally not a very good team this year. Sure — they beat the Flyers in their final game before the Christmas break, in one of the overall worst showings that the Flyers have had this season. But, on paper, this is a matchup the Flyers should be the favorite in, particularly at home in Philadelphia.
Let’s hope that’s the case, at least.
With Matt Read healthy and ready to come back in the lineup after missing the team’s final two pre-bye week games, there were rumblings this morning that Travis Konecny was going to be the healthy scratch tonight. But that panic proved to be short-lived, and it appears that Dale Weise will be watching from the press box. Not my first choice, but still a better option than Travis Konecny. Brandon Manning and Nick Schultz will also be watching tonight from upstairs.
Michal Neuvirth and Cory Schneider are in net, as the Flyers hope that the post-bye week portion of the season will bring them better luck in net than they’ve been having for the rest of the season.
Locally, the game is on TCN Philly and available for streaming on CSNPhilly.com. Up in the New Jersey area, you can see if on MSG+ 2. (There’s a plus and a 2? Seems redundant.) Elsewhere, NHL.TV and NHL Center Ice are your options.
Flyers lineup (via)
- Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Matt Read
- Nick Cousins - Sean Couturier - Jake Voracek
- Travis Konecny - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds
- Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Roman Lyubimov
- Ivan Provorov - Andrew MacDonald
- Michael Del Zotto - Shayne Gostisbehere
- Mark Streit - Radko Gudas
- Michal Neuvirth
- Steve Mason
New Jersey lineup (via)
- Taylor Hall - Adam Henrique - P.A. Parenteau
- Mike Cammalleri - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri
- Pavel Zacha - Jacob Josefson - Beau Bennett
- Miles Wood - Vernon Fiddler - Devante Smith-Pelly
- Kyle Quincey - Damon Severson
- Seth Helgeson - Ben Lovejoy
- Karl Stollery - Steven Santini
- Cory Schneider
- Keith Kinkaid