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Flyers vs. Blackhawks preview: It’s rivalry (sorta) night!

How many times are we going to see the Kane OT goal tonight?

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Can someone please explain to me how meeting in the Stanley Cup Final one time, a time that shall never be mentioned again, equals a rivalry? No? Got it.

The Flyers face-off tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks, looking to bounce back from an overtime loss at the hands of the formerly winless Arizona Coyotes. The Blackhawks enter the contest just 5-5-2 having lost their previous three games. Both teams are coming in looking for redemption in a big way so hey, maybe there actually will be some heated action that NBC wants from Wednesday Night Rivalry.

One of the main storylines for the Flyers: center Nolan Patrick and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere will not be joining the team for the next two games in the Midwest. Both were placed on IR and defenseman Will O’Neill was recalled from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

PHI point leaders

  1. Jakub Voracek - 16 points (2G, 14A)
  2. Sean Couturier - 15 points (9G, 6A)
  3. Claude Giroux - 14 points (6G, 8A)

CHI point leaders

  1. Patrick Kane - 12 points (5G, 7A)
  2. Ryan Hartman - 10 points (4G, 6A)
  3. Brandon Saad - 9 points (6G, 3A)

Team metrics breakdown

  • Flyers CF%: 49.20
  • Hawks CF%: 48.93

These two are back to back in team CF% rankings, Flyers are 18th, Hawks 19th. The main difference however has been corsi against: the Hawks sit 24th in the league in that category while the Flyers sit 17th.

  • Flyers xGF%: 51.33
  • Hawks xGF%: 46.95

Unlike the difference in corsi, the difference in expected goals for is extremely noticeable right off the bat. Despite being 19th in the league in expected goals for, the Flyers edge the Blackhawks in this category by a wide margin. The reason is while the Hawks sit 12th in expected goals for, they are 27th in the NHL in expected goals against. What I’m trying to say is, the Hawks defense has been pretty brutal.

  • Flyers PDO: 100.71
  • Hawks PDO: 103.5

As you may have expected already, the Hawks goaltending has bailed them out so far this season. Corey Crawford has been outstanding for Chicago posting a .935 save percentage in his 10 games this season. His backup Anton Forsberg, by comparison, has allowed 11 goals in his three games including being pulled in the Colorado game.

The prediction models favor Chicago tonight by a margin of 53.8 to 46.2.