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Flyers vs Hawks preview: Back to business

Flyers end season series with Hawks in Philadelphia

Kate Frese - SB Nation

The Flyers return from a four day break after a 5-4 loss at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche to face the Chicago Blackhawks. This is the second meeting in as many weeks for these two teams with the first game going to Chicago in a 2-0 shutout win. The Flyers aren’t the only ones coming off a small break though, as the Blackhawks got a three day rest after their 2-0 loss to Montreal on Sunday. Both teams sit at 7-6-2.

Flyers get healthier

If any team in the NHL needed that four day hiatus it was the Flyers; Shayne Gostisbehere had only just returned from injury to face the Avs and Radko Gudas was still out of the lineup. Now, Gudas returns and the only Flyers missing due to injury are Nolan Patrick and Andrew MacDonald. The number two overall pick is still listed as day-to-day but no news on when he will return.

PHI Point Leaders

  1. Sean 1Couturier-18 points (9G, 9A)
  2. Jakub Voracek- 18 points (3G, 15A)
  3. Claude Giroux- 17 points (8G, 9A)

CHI Point Leaders

  1. Patrick Kane- 14 points (5G, 9A)
  2. Jonathan Toews- 10 points (4G, 6A)
  3. Ryan Hartman- 10 points (4G, 6A)

If you recall my preview for the previous Flyers/Hawks game, you’ll see not a whole lot has changed in terms of point leaders.

Flyers metrics improve, Hawks do as well

Last time the Flyers held a slight edge over Chicago in team raw CF%, now that distinction belongs to the Hawks. Chicago leads Philadelphia 49.81 to 49.52 with the teams sitting 16th and 17th in the NHL in that category.

One of the most glaring differences in the Flyers team metrics vs the Hawks was their expected goal for percentage. Coming into last week’s matchup the Flyers led 51.33 to 46.95 for a +4.38. Now that gap has shrunk to a +3.18. Chicago has improved from a 46.95 to a 48.20, while the Flyers have only slightly improved to a 51.38

Is Corey Crawford human?

What has helped the Hawks all season has been stellar goaltending from Corey Crawford. The two time Stanley Cup winner is dominating the NHL this year with a league leading 1.77 GAA and a .945 save percentage. The Flyers more than likely could have beaten the Hawks last week, but Crawford stole the show as he’s been doing all year.

Meanwhile the Flyers have Michal Neuvirth projected to start tonight.

Neuvy comes into the game after a shaky performance against the Avs, but also as the one who pitched the shutout vs St. Louis. If the Flyers want a better shot at winning this game, they’ll need St. Louis Neuvy, not Colorado Neuvy.

The models say...

I’m starting to think Corsica thinks Anton Forsberg is starting tonight because oh boy the Flyers are favored tonight by a wide margin. The average of the current predictions up is 56.1% in favor of Philadelphia with the closest margin in the single predictions is 51.1-49.9. Previously, Chicago was favored and they followed suit, can the Flyers do the same tonight?