Today the Flyers look to avoid six losses in a row as they face the second-best team in the Central Division, the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets have had a major breakthrough season and are essentially a sure fire bet to make the postseason, and the Flyers are trying to avoid one of the biggest collapses in recent memory. While sure, we may be overreacting a little, I don’t think anyone can really blame us with how this team has played throughout the course of the season.
Petr Mrazek will most likely return in net today after sitting out the second half of the back-to-back against Boston, Mrazek has been shaky of late and will need to have a solid performance today. The Flyers are in desperate need of their goaltender winning them a game. They didn’t play poorly against Boston and even Pittsburgh through two periods, but a game where the goalie stands on his head seems to be in order.
The Flyers will not end up facing their former teammate in goalie Steve Mason, who has been injured for much of the season and seen his job taken by Connor Hellebuyck. The 24-year old goalie has posted a 2.39 GAA with a .923 save percentage, good for 11th in the NHL. Offensively the Flyers have to be on their A-game and not waste power play opportunities. The Jets have the league’s second best power play and seventh best penalty kill, special teams will be of the utmost importance in this one.
1. Don’t let Manning or MacDonald on the ice the same time as Laine (I’m well aware this won’t happen)
If the Flyers want to win today they need to keep Patrik Laine as far away from these two as possible. Now, Travis Sanheim was recalled yesterday, so we should only need to worry about keeping Laine away from one of these guys, but still, just let Provy and Ghost deal with this guy because at least then I’ll know it’s just Laine being too good.
2. Speaking of, Sanheim’s back!
After being recalled yesterday on emergency reasons, it’s pretty clear Sanheim will be playing today. Whether MacDonald who has been battling a few nagging injuries of late compounded with receiving a bad hit on Thursday vs. Boston, or Manning who ... well, we’re not sure if he’s hurt or Hextall’s just finally had enough. We know Johnny Oduya is probably hurt but he hasn’t been playing so who really knows anymore! Either way I find it hard to believe that Sanheim won’t be playing in this hockey game, so let’s get excited!
3. Would be nice to cool off the Jets’ hot streak
Winnipeg comes into this game 8-2-0 in their last ten, and riding a four game win streak. The Flyers of course would like to end that streak with a win today breaking their losing streak. All that matters at this point is just ending this streak before it gets any further. This team already lost ten in a row earlier this year, let’s not even get any closer to that point. They’re at home and hey! There’s actually life in the Wells Fargo Center again! The fans are desperately trying to believe in this team, today would be a good time to show them why they should.
Flyers Projected Lines
Giroux - Couturier - Konecny
Lindblom - Patrick - Voracek
Read - Filppula - Simmonds
Lehtera - Laughton - Raffl
Provorov - Gostisbehere
Sanheim - Hagg (?)
Manning - Gudas (?)