After a seemingly improbable win last night against Carolina, the Flyers look to make it two in a row against Metropolitan division teams with a win against Washington today. If they do just that, they’ll be no worse than four points behind first place. Four huge points are on the line today, and seeing as the Flyers are coming off a hard fought win last night, one can only hope that momentum carries over.
A break the Flyers do receive today comes in the form of an Evgeny Kuznetsov injury that will keep him out of today’s game. Kuznetsov has been a point per game player this year with 21 goals and 50 assists in 71 games. He’s one of the better players in the NHL and the Flyers are lucky to not have to face him today.
#Flyers will catch a break Sun.: Caps C Evgeny Kuznetsov will miss the game with an injury. He leads the Capitals with 50 assists and is second with 21 goals and 71 points. Chandler Stephenson may replace Kuznetsov.— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) March 18, 2018
After a strong start from Alex Lyon, Petr Mrazek will most likely return in net. Mrazek will look to bounce back after being replaced in his last game vs. Columbus. It’s been a shaky few games for the Flyers new netminder and they’ll need him to be on his A game especially in this one.
Oskar Lindblom finally recorded his first NHL point yesterday with an assist to Jakub Voracek’s game tying goal. After finally getting on the board, I wouldn’t be surprised if the flood gates open for number 54. Lindblom has been this close to getting his first NHL goal and I have a feeling that today may just be the day.
Three Keys to the Game
1. Don’t take penalties (and if you do please guard the guy with the number eight, he’s kinda good)
This should go without saying, but they cannot afford to take penalties against the Capitals. For as poor as this penalty kill has been all season and for how lethal the Capitals power play can be with Ovechkin, the Flyers need to keep this game at 5-on-5. Keep Ovi off of the score sheet and your chances for winning skyrocket. Most likely, the biggest way to help that cause is not giving him the chance for a power play tally.
2. Hot start
After a great win last night, it’s going to be important for these guys to come out firing today. If they get down early yet again, in a big divisional game, I’m not sure they’ll have the energy to get back in it. If the Caps strike early in this one it could very well get ugly. However, if the Flyers can get out to a solid start, it could be a big motivation boost for this team. Although, we know this is the Flyers, and this team doesn’t like to have the lead for too long.
3. Depth scoring
With the injury to Kuznetsov, it would best serve the Flyers to go right at their weak spot. With a projected center core today of Backstrom - Lars Eller - Jay Beagle - Travis Boyd, getting the right matchups will be key. This might have to be a day where the second and third lines really step up. With the Couturier line most likely seeing a lot of the Nicklas Backstrom line today, the depth goal scoring should be a factor on both sides.
Flyers Projected Lines
Giroux - Couturier - Raffl
Lindblom - Patrick - Voracek
Konecny - Filppula - Simmonds
Weal - Laughton - Read
Provorov - Gostisbehere
Sanheim - MacDonald
Manning - Gudas