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Flyers return home to face Stars, look to end losing skid

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It’s two suddenly struggling clubs, but something’s gotta give in this matchup of teams with playoff aspirations.

New Jersey Devils v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

The Boys are back in town, the boys are back in town.

After a largely unsuccessful road swing through Canada the Flyers (2-2-1, five points) are back at the friendly confines of the Wells Fargo Center as they look to shake off the stench of a three-game losing streak by welcoming the struggling Stars (1-7-1, three points) to town.

And man if you thought you wanted to throw yourselves off a bridge watching the Flyers on that road trip, try being a Stars fan with preseason hype all over the place after a nice playoff run a year ago and ambitions of going even deeper this time around. Woof.

As for the Flyers, they’re probably overjoyed to be back home following a couple weeks of insane travel that saw them in Europe and then all the way on the left coast of Canada all within the span of a week. Some home cooking and a loud and rowdy crowd at the WFC should go a long way in getting the Orange and Black back into the win column.


Players to watch:

Carter Hart

Flyers coach Alain Vigneault is going back to the 21-year-old on heels of allowing four goals on 14 shots last time out in Edmonton. Though Hart is the Flyers’ unquestioned best option in the crease, it’s good to see the veteran coach sticking with the youngster after a clunker.

As for Hart, he’s one of the most driven players to come up through the Flyers’ system in a long time and there’s no doubt he’s been chomping at the bit to get back on the ice after Wednesday and get that bad taste out of his mouth.

Expect a big bounce back from Hart tonight against a Dallas team averaging just 1.89 goals per game so far.

James van Riemsdyk

Yes JVR is pointless in five games, but it hasn’t been because he’s been a fly on the wall. The forward has 23 shots and carries a 59% Corsi-For through five games while narrowly missing out on a slew of high danger chances. So while he’s been invisible on in the box score so far, the data is there to suggest that he’s this close to going on an absolute tear. Something tells me the Stars playing on the second half of a back-to-back will be just the thing to get JVR’s breakthrough going.

Kevin Hayes

Hayes has just the lone goal in his first five games of his Flyers career, but like JVR, he’s had a slew of great scoring chances to boot. It’s only a matter of time before he starts to convert those chances, and a Stars team that isn’t loaded with shutdown centers should give Hayes plenty of room to roam out there this evening. The Flyers need to get both JVR and Hayes not only getting chances, but producing on them. There’s a good chance that starts tonight in a big way.


Two big questions:

Will the real Flyers please stand up, please stand up?

Tale of two teams so far with the two wins to start and then the three losses in-a-row. So which team are the Flyers? The good news is that they’ve really only played terrible in the Calgary game, so as long as the Flyers continue to drive possession and generate prime scoring chances they should be able to right themselves before long.

*Extremely Kanye voice* I miss the old Shayne Gostisbehere

After a disappointing season last year the Ghost was talked about on the trade block, but was not moved and we were all hoping for a bounce back year and it just hasn’t been a great start so far. He doesn’t have a point and has largely been a disaster in his own zone (he had three turnovers on one shift against the Flames), and hasn’t been able to hit the net on the power play with regularity.

Even if Ghost can’t get it together offensively, he’s at the very least got to eliminate the mental mistakes or else he’ll find himself in Vigneault’s doghouse and that’s no good for anyone right now.


Flyers’ projected lineup vs. Stars

Forwards

Claude Giroux - Sean Couturier - Travis Konecny

Oskar Lindblom - Kevin Hayes - Jake Voracek

James van Riemsdyk - Scott Laughton - Tyler Pitlick

Carsen Twarynski - Michael Raffl - Chris Stewart

Defense

Ivan Provorov - Matt Niskanen

Travis Sanheim - Justin Braun

Robert Hägg - Shayne Gostisbehere

Goalie

Carter Hart

(Brian Elliott)