After a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Dallas Stars, extending the losing streak to four games, the Flyers look to get back in the win column tonight vs. the Vegas Golden Knights. They’ll do so with the help of two new faces in Joel Farabee and Mikhail Vorobyev. After recalling the duo yesterday, the rookies will look to help the Flyers get out of this funk.
Although the team honestly hasn’t played that poorly over the course of this losing streak, they haven’t been cashing in on prime scoring chances that other teams are. We’ve seen countless times over this four game stretch where seemingly every mistake by the Flyers ends up in the back of the net. Meanwhile, despite the fact the Flyers are forcing mistakes on a consistent basis, they’re not finishing nearly enough.
This is backed up by the stats, which show the team dead last in the NHL in goals-for. The solace to take in this is that defensively, this team is looking far and above improved from last season. They sit fifth in the league in goals allowed and overall have just looked so much more stable defensively. Does that mean they haven’t had some poor showings at times? No, they certainly have. But if they can keep this defensive effort, and start getting scoring from the top six, things should turn around in a hurry.
Tonight they take on the Vegas Golden Knights, who sit third in the Pacific Division behind the surprise Anaheim Ducks, and Edmonton Oilers. Vegas is just in their third NHL season, but have already established themselves as a consistent Stanley Cup contender. Marc-Andre Fleury is still going strong at the age of 35, and their offense is one of the more lethal ones in the league.
Players to Watch For
The top six — Yeah I could single one of these guys out but realistically, it’s time for the top six to get it going. Depth scoring is great and this team will need to have that, but if the top six doesn’t get it going we’re not going to survive on depth scoring. A big game from the likes of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and the rest of the big guys would go a long way in helping this team get the win.
Carter Hart — In no way do I blame Carter Hart for really any of the losses in this streak, but I do think he could be better. That calming presence he brings seems to have escaped him just a little bit, and he’ll need that to get back to his level of play from the Devils game. I think he’s fully capable of doing it, it’s just the matter of shaking off the concerns.
The rooks — After just four AHL games, Joel Farabee has returned. While the Farabee call-up was semi-expected, the Vorobyev one was a bit of a shock. He has gotten off to a good start with the Phantoms though, and will most likely slide into the fourth line center role tonight with Farabee on the third line right wing. Expecting these guys to produce right away would be insane, but it sure would be fun to see these kids make an impact from the jump.
Two Big Questions
1. Which of the rookies step up?
This doesn’t necessarily have to be reflected on the scoreboard (although that would be lovely) but which of these two will have the best game? Farabee has seemed NHL ready almost from the minute he walked into camp, and Vorobyev already has some NHL experience.
2. Can they finally start finishing chances?
Lack of finish has been the main thing that has plagued this Flyers team so far. If they’re even middle of the pack in goals, we’re looking at a probably one or two loss team. Vegas is eighth in the league in goals allowed so this is no small task, but sooner rather than later this team has to start scoring goals.
Flyers Projected Lineup
JVR — Giroux — Voracek
Lindblom — Couturier — Konecny
Laughton— Hayes— Farabee
Raffl — Vorobyev — Stewart
Provorov — Niskanen
Gostisbehere — Hagg
Sanheim — Braun