The Flyers welcomed us back to the second half of the season in the most predictable way ever: jumping out to a two goal lead then allowing five unanswered goals as the Capitals went on to win 5-3. Tonight, they face another division rival in the Devils, looking to bounce back.
So far this season, the Flyers have fared well vs. New Jersey winning the first two matchups by scores of 3-1 and 5-3.
New Jersey went on a bit of a cold streak after their last loss to Philadelphia, losing three straight afterwards before winning vs. Buffalo on Tuesday. In the past month, the Devils have had losing streaks of six in a row, and most recently, four in a row. While I don’t think they’re as bad as those streaks indicate, I think they’re finally coming back down to earth from the monstrous start they had to begin the season.
Welcome: The Lyon King
The main storyline for the Flyers coming into tonight has to be the possibility for Alex Lyon to make his first NHL start. The 25 year old out of Yale saw his first game action last night in relief of a shaky Michal Neuvirth. With these being back to back games anyway — and with Neuvirth struggling last night — it appears to be the perfect scenario for Lyon to make his debut. In 24 games with the Phantoms, Lyon has posted a 2.90 GAA with a .910 save percentage. While not great numbers, at this point I think a lot of us would just like to know what we have in this guy.
Players to Watch:
NJD Player to Watch- F Jesper Bratt: In two games vs. Philadelphia this season, the 19 year old rookie has two goals. New Jersey has put together a decent group of young forwards, and Bratt has definitely been an impact player this season. He’s second on the team in points with 31 (Taylor Hall leads the team with 49) and tied for third in goals with 12. Bratt, along with other young Devils forwards such as Nico Hischier and Miles Wood all will be skaters to watch in this one.
PHI Player to Watch- F Nolan Patrick: Nolan...hello. The second overall pick continues to pick up his game and show he was deserving of his high draft selection with a goal in his first game on the second line. Patrick, since the beginning of the new year, has been at 50% CF or higher in all but two of the Flyers 12 games. Not only is he starting to produce on the score sheet, he’s play driving at the rate we figured he would when he was drafted. He’ll look to keep that hot play burning tonight vs. the first overall pick in Hischier.
PHI CF%: 49.52
NJD CF%: 48.57
PHI xGF%: 50.38
NJD xGF%: 50.82
Honestly...what else did we expect from these two teams. Both are extremely average and the metrics show it; this should be an interesting game. (Seriously the Flyers/Devils games have been kinda fun so far this year what’s with that???)
And the predictions say...
ALRIGHT DAMN CORSICA, CHILL.
The Flyers are by far the underdogs in this one (go birds) as the highest chance they’re given to win tonight is 49.4%. The average puts the Flyers at 43.1% so far, but this could very well change in the hours leading up to puck drop.
Flyers Projected Lines:
Giroux - Couturier - Konecny
Voracek - Patrick - Simmonds
Weal - Filppula - Raffl
Goulbourne - Laughton - Lehtera
Provorov - Gostisbehere
Hagg - MacDonald
Manning - Gudas