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Flyers at Canadiens preview: The post-deadline era gets underway

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With the trade deadline behind them and only 20 more games before the regular season ends, the Flyers will face Montreal for the third (and final) time this month in search of their sixth straight win.

Kate Frese / SBNation

We realize that there are some other happenings going on today in the hockey world, but amidst all of the questioning on whether Ron Hextall will look to add to his team, his team has a game tonight, and it’s possible that it ends the evening on top of the Metropolitan Division.

What a world.

Anywho, the Flyers will be up in Montreal tonight, as they close out their season series with the Canadiens. It’s their third game against Montreal in 19 days, and the Flyers will hope to make it their third win over Montreal in 19 days.

You could say that the Flyers are coming in to Montreal at a good time. The Canadiens have lost seven of their last eight games, though two of those losses came in the shootout and another was in regulation. They’re well out of playoff contention, and they’ve done at least a little bit of selling in response: they sent center Tomas Plekanec to the rival Maple Leafs on Sunday.

That, of course, is all in stark contrast to the Flyers, who are coming in with a 9-0-2 record in their last 11 games. A 5-3 win in Ottawa on Saturday has further pushed the Flyers away from the playoff bubble and into the race for the Metropolitan Division title — they enter the evening tied with Pittsburgh (who has played one more game than them, and is idle tonight) for second in the division, one point behind Washington (who plays in Columbus tonight) for the lead. With a win and a Washington loss, the Flyers will enter Tuesday atop the Metropolitan Division, a scenario that would have been truly unfathomable even a month ago.

Given the opponent and the situation, this is a game that the Flyers really do need if they want to keep pace in the race for the Metro division crown. Tonight, they’ll play their last game in the month of February; then, beginning on Thursday with a home game against the bubble-dwelling Carolina Hurricanes, they’ll play 10 straight games against teams that are either comfortably in the playoffs (Tampa, Pittsburgh, Boston, Winnipeg, Vegas, Washington) or on the bubble (Carolina, Florida, Columbus, Carolina again). This isn’t a team that’s in position to pass up gimme points when they’re staring them in the face, and this is as close to a pair of gimme points that the Flyers are going to see for a while. It’s a real T.C.B. game tonight for the Flyers.

Because not only are the Habs not very good, they’re also hurting right now. Carey Price (who, yes, isn’t having his best year) is currently out with a concussion, one that he likely suffered last week against the Flyers following a shot to the mask that he took from Shayne Gostisbehere. They’re also without Shea Weber, who’s missed all three of the Flyers’ games against the Habs and had season-ending surgery last week. Combine all of that with Montreal trading one of their better centers (Plekanec), and this is clearly a team that’s beatable right now.

Petr Mrazek will get his third start in net for the Flyers; he’s won each of his first two, but looked a little uneasy at times late in the Flyers’ win over the Senators on Saturday, so hopefully we see more of the Columbus-game Mrazek tonight. Charlie Lindgren will be in net for the Canadiens; he’s performed admirably for Montreal this year, with a .924 save percentage in eight starts.

Our guess is that newest Flyer Johnny Oduya will not be in the lineup, and that things will largely look similar to how they did in Ottawa. 7:30 start time, game’s on NBCS local and NBCSN national. Go Flyers.

Tonight’s game begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and can be:

  • Seen on TV locally via NBC Sports Philadelphia (or via stream on the NBC Sports App)
  • Seen nationally on NBC Sports Network (meaning, no or Center Ice today)
  • Heard via radio locally on 97.5 The Fanatic
  • Seen on TV in Canada via RDS and TSN2
  • Seen or heard elsewhere via Sirius XM

Like on Thursday, we don’t quite know as of now whether Travis Konecny will be in the lineup today or not. For now, we’ll guess that he isn’t, and that the Flyers will roll the lines they started using in the third period on Thursday.

Projected Flyers lineup:


Giroux - Couturier - Konecny

Lindblom - Patrick - Voracek

Weal - Laughton - Raffl

Lehtera - Filppula - Weise


Provorov - Gostisbehere

Hagg - MacDonald

Manning - Gudas