We’re right back at it again, folks! After dropping their game to Calgary last night, the Flyers have scooted on over to Edmonton and they’re looking to try to salvage at least another point out of this road trip. It wasn’t pretty in Calgary, but they’ll be trying to put this one behind them and be able to head back to Philly on a higher note. Here’s hoping.
They’ll be meeting the Oilers tonight who, despite how much the rest of us like to joke about them, are off to a very good start to their season. They’re hanging out at the top of the Pacific after six games played, and only just picked up their first loss on Monday to the Blackhawks. They’re a bit of a hard team to get a read on—their top end skill in players like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl is undeniable, but when teams who have struggled with their depth start to put it all together like this, it’s unclear at the start whether that’s for real, or if they’ll regress backwards a bit after a hot start. It remains to be seen which it is for the Oilers, but the fact remains that, on paper, depth is still their weakness and it may well be something the Flyers could exploit.
Three players to watch
1. Travis Konecny
He’s been off to a hot start, and has been the case all season, we just can’t stop watching to see what he’ll do. Konecny didn’t score any himself last night, but he did pick up a very nice assist on Matt Niskanen’s goal, and just always seemed to be in the mix, creating chances, even if they didn’t come to fruition. He seemed to still be picking up some steam, and on the second night of a back to back, that’s something that the Flyers are going to sorely need. If he can bring some of that jump and continue that good work in generating chances, the Flyers will be in better shape tonight.
2. James van Riemsdyk
Van Riemsdyk hasn’t seen the same hot start as Konecny, and he wasn’t able to get on the board last night in Calgary, but he did have a handful of really good chances, and led the team in individual shots with six, including four high danger chances. More than anyone else, he was testing David Rittich, and he just couldn’t get the bounces to go his way. But van Riemsdyk has been doing some good work, and it only seems a matter of time before he breaks through.
3. Carter Hart
He’s back home again! It seemed a little curious that Elliott would have gotten the start in Calgary, given that, on paper, that should have been the more difficult game, but it also makes sense that Hart would be given the start in his return to his hometown. Hart’s been good, even stellar at times, to start the season, and he’s likely going to find himself tested tonight (because, McDavid and Draisaitl, hello). If the Flyers come out flat again in this one, they’ll really be leaning on Hart to stabilize until they can collect themselves. But he’s done well enough so far this season that we feel good about his chances to put up a solid showing and give his team the best chance to get themselves back on track with this one.
Two big questions
1. Will the Flyers’ depth win out?
As we mentioned in the introduction, depth is certainly an issue for the Oilers, and on paper, the Flyers certainly figure to be the deeper team. This should be an area that they can exploit, assuming they can get some more contributions from their depth players. We’ve been talking a lot about the top two lines for their contributions, but the others have still had their moments. And we’ll need to see just a bit more from them in this matchup.
2. Can they clean things up?
Last night was messy. The Flyers didn’t really have their legs going and were struggling to complete the passes they were attempting. And then, instead of working to simplify their game, they just kept trying the same things, and it wasn’t working for them. We’re hoping that they learned from this and that simplicity is the name of the game tonight. They’ll likely be tired, and this will be a key to keep them from expending too much excess energy. They just need to clean some things up.
Puck drops at 9:30 tonight, and you can check out the Flyers’ projected lineup below.
Giroux — Couturier — Konecny
Lindblom — Hayes — van Riemsdyk
Twarynski — Laughton — Voracek
Pitlick — Raffl — Stewart
Provorov — Braun
Sanheim — Niskanen
Gostisbehere — Hagg