Suddenly streaking, the Flyers look for their sixth-straight win when the Dallas Stars come to town tonight for a 7pm puck drop at the Wells Fargo Center. But it won’t be just any night at the WFC as the fans will be treated to a unique experience at the arena that BSH’s own Kelly Hinkle has more on here.
On the ice, the Flyers will face a good test in the Stars, who’ve rebounded nicely so far this season after a disappointing finish a year ago. Behind the bench is a familiar face in Ken Hitchcock. Familiar (and dangerous) faces litter the Dallas lineup from Tyler Seguin (29 points in 33 games), Jamie Benn (29 points in 33 games) and newcomer Alexander Radulov, the enigmatic yet explosive winger.
Also new for the Stars is what the team hoped would be a solidified crease with Ben Bishop acquired from Los Angeles and then signed to a large deal. Bishop, however, hasn’t been up to his career numbers though, posting a .909 save percentage (nearly .10 points below his career mark) and a disappointing 2.75 goals-against average (nearly .40 higher than his career average).
For the Flyers, they’ve had anything but problems in goal recently as Brian Elliott has won five games in a row and has allowed just eight goals in that same stretch. He’s currently rocking a sparkling .938 save percentage and a 1.85 goals-against average in the month of December.
As for streaking forwards, look no further than Michael Raffl, who has points in each of his last five games (3G, 3A). It’s no secret that secondary scoring boost Raffl has given the club has play a role in the Flyers’ recent run. The rebirth of Wayne Simmonds (3G, 2A in last five games) has also helped resuscitate the Flyers’ offense of late.
Since coach Dave Hakstol broke up the Flyers’ top line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Jake Voracek, the returns have been very good. Raffl, Valtteri Filppula and Voracek have scored four goals while allowing one as line together. The move allowed Giroux and Couturier to stay together (23 goals forced, 12 goals allowed) while adding a struggling player who appears to have been jumpstarted by the move in Simmonds.
With Hasktol all of a sudden pushing the right buttons, his next project has appeared to be get his No. 2 overall pick going. Nolan Patrick has seen his ice time slightly increase over the past three games, going from 8:12 in Edmonton to 12:08 against Buffalo. While that’s not staggering, Patrick posted a 60% Corsi For in the game and had a goal-saving defensive play that was sure to catch the eye of his head coach.
Here’s to hoping Nolan is the next Flyer to break out of a rut and get back onto the score sheet against the Stars.
Flyers projected lineup
Giroux - Couturier - Simmonds
Raffl - Filppula - Voracek
Weal - Patrick - Weise
Leier - Laughton - Konecny
Provorov - MacDonald
Gostisbehere - Hagg
Sanheim - Gudas