The good news is that yesterday we got to see the Flyers play hockey again! The bad news is that we had to watch the Flyers play hockey.
Yesterday’s loss was demoralizing, as it seems like every Flyers-Devils game of the past five or six seasons has been. It was a crappy way for the Flyers to come out of the bye week, and it continues a slide that has now extended for over a month. We’ll be frank: watching the Flyers just isn’t fun right now.
But is there reason for optimism despite the losses? Charlie made that case in the observations for last night’s game, to an extent. As much as a drag as this has been, there’s some reason to believe that the underlying performance here is better than the record would indicate, and that we can maybe expect to see this thing turn around sooner rather than later.
However, until that happens, things are going to be sad.
Which brings us to tonight’s contest. The Flyers are facing one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference, the New York Islanders. Now, this on its own doesn’t mean a ton, since the Flyers played one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference last night, too, and we all remember how that went. Also, the Islanders are on a bit of a roll right now, and will be starting a goalie that has recorded shutouts in back to back games.
So what can we expect tonight from Brooklyn? The Islanders fired Jack Capuano earlier this week, and teams usually react to a mid-season firing either by descending into more chaos or by coming together and playing good hockey. Right now, the Islanders under interim coach Doug Weight are doing the latter; the team’s next loss under him will be its first.
In other words, despite the Islanders’ current status in the basement of the Eastern Conference, this game is not a gimme for the orange and black by any stretch of the imagination.
For the Flyers, Steve Mason will be in net after getting an extended warmup in the third period of last night’s game against New Jersey. Dave Hakstol has also indicated that there will be some changes within the lineup, but it sounds like we’ll have the same group of 20 guys on the ice that we had last night.
Tonight’s game can be seen in Philadelphia on CSN Philly and via stream on CSNPhilly.com. In New York, you can watch on MSG+; elsewhere, you can watch on NHL.TV or NHL Center Ice.
Flyers lineup (tentative; same lines as yesterday)
- 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
- Steve Mason
- Michal Neuvirth
Brooklyn lineup (via)
- Anders Lee - John “Jawn” Tavares - Josh Bailey
- Brock “The Gym Leader” Nelson - Ryan Strome - Stephen Gionta
- Anthony Beauvillier - Alan “Every Time I Hear The Announcers Say His Name I Think They’re Saying Calvin Klein” Quine - Jason Chimera
- Nikolai Kulemin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
- Nick Leddy - Adam Pelech
- Thomas Hickey - Johnny Boychuk
- Calvin de Haan - Dennis Seidenberg
- Thomas Greiss
- Jean-Francois “Craig” Berube