Coming off a tough loss last night, the Flyers skate in St. Louis tonight against the Blues, in another tough matchup. Storylines include: a hot goaltender. Injuries abound. Jori Lehtera squaring off against his old team. The Flyers saying hey to Brayden Schenn.
The second game in two nights, it’s also arguably the more difficult of the two matchups. The Blues head into this game well rested and 7-2-1, sitting comfortably at the top of their division.
Here are three things to look for in tonight's game.
1. Pucks in the net.
This feels like an implicit thing to look for, but when you take a look at what the Flyers are facing, it may be easier said than done. Last night, the Flyers faced a desperate Blackhawks team hoping to shake a three game losing streak, and a goaltender with a .925 save percentage. Tonight, the Flyers face a Blue team that's rolling with a four game winning streak, and a goaltender with a .928 save percentage.
The Flyers held the edge last night in possession, with an adjusted CF% of 54.88 percent at even strength, and registered 3.3 expected goals (compared to the Blackhawks 3.44). So their efforts and their methods were good, and technically kept them in the game, had they found a way to crack Corey Crawford. They will face a similar obstacle tonight, and will have to hope that they can bring a similar effort, and somehow find a way to get past Jake Allen.
Wish me luck, guys. It's my first game playing in the NHL. My first time playing hockey. Things are going really well over here.
Okay, you got me. I'm not playing for the Flyers tonight, but I may as well be. With Gudas going down in last night's game, he made the third of the Flyers' defensemen to be injured. Tonight, the Flyers defense corps will be made up of Provorov and Manning, two rookies, and two AHL lifers. Take a moment with that one.
So things are a little rough. But they may not stay that way. Provorov has been his usual, incredibly solid self. Manning, Hagg, and Sanheim have been, on the whole, solid enough. But Alt and O'Neill still serve as the biggest question marks, and the Flyers will certainly need them to show up tonight, in a big way.
3. Results from a newly arranged middle six.
Last night’s game also saw some line switching, but for once one that wasn’t wholly necessitated by injury. With Travis Konecny and Jordan Weal flipped, even in the relative smallness of the movement, it gave the middle six a very new look. And they looked okay so far.
Members of each line-- with the exception of Dale Weiss-- posted CF%s above 50, and each brought their own fair share of scoring chances. It was a relatively seamless shift, but they were still each held goalless. We will hope that the middle six can hold on to that momentum and rhythm, and translate it into more tangible results, against the Blues.
So, there's no way around it, the Flyers have a difficult road ahead of them. But what are the statistical models projecting for this game?
The models over at Corsica favor the Blues in this one, giving the Flyers a high of 42.9 percent and an average of 39.2 percent chance of winning.