Did we have a nice extra day off, folks? The Flyers are back tonight and, oh, would you look at that, they’re on the road again. They’re in Chicago tonight to face off against the Blackhawks, closing out the season series. You surely remember, but we’ll remind you because it was great, but the Flyers beat the Blackhawks in the season opener over in Prague, and they’ll be looking for the clean sweep tonight.
Somehow, this is only the Flyers’ eight game of the season, and it’s been something of an inconsistent start from them. They only have three wins, and they’ve had bouts of looking just pretty sloppy and listless. But they’ve also shown some moments of brilliance, and since they handled the Golden Knights easily on Monday, picking up a 6-2 win, we get to say that they’re good for now. They did look really sharp in this game, and we’re hoping this is them taking a step in the right direction.
The Blackhawks, too, are off to something of a rough start—they only have two wins on the season, and have only registered 19 goals across their seven games played. They’re struggling to generate offense and it’s burning them in a bad way. They’re second to last in their division, and you just hate to see it.
Three players to watch
1. Joel Farabee
The excitement hasn’t worn off yet over Farabee’s call-up, even though he’s already played his first NHL game. And it was a good game! Farabee seemed to get himself acclimated to the pace of the NHL pretty quickly, and made his presence known offensively. He wasn’t able to get himself on the scoresheet, but he was involved in a couple of good scoring chances. As it did in the American League, the process, so far, seems to be sound. We’ll be looking to see if he can continue to get more comfortable at the NHL level, and maybe even get himself that first NHL point.
2. Oskar Lindblom
Lindblom’s coming off of a very solid game on Monday, which saw him record and goal and an assist, officially pushing him up to a point per game pace through the first seven games of the season. He hasn’t always been the flashiest, but he’s been having a very solid first stretch of games, playing alongside Travis Konecny and Sean Couturier, a line that’s been dominant in just about every showing. There’s been a lot to like about the start of his season, and we’ll be looking to see if he can keep up this momentum that he’s been building.
3. Brian Elliott
He’s had two days off and it’s Brian Elliott time again, folks! He was really sharp in his start on Monday against Vegas, and Alain Vigneault seems confident enough in his play to give him a second consecutive start. We get a little nervous about the idea of starting him in too many games in a row, based on what’s happened historically when they’ve tried that, but two days in between games seems like enough rest for him. As we noted earlier, the Blackhawks have been struggling to generate offense, but even in a game where he may not see too much activity (as was the case on Monday as well), the Flyers will need him to stay sharp to keep them in it.
Two big questions
1. Can PP2 keep rolling?
The Flyers’ second power play unit (or, Coots’s unit, as Vigneault called it after Monday’s game) has been on fire of late, and it’s a pretty refreshing change. They’re up to five goals on the season, and they don’t really show any signs of slowing down, at least right now. But we do figure that they’re set to slow down eventually, but when? They’ve got some serious momentum building right now, and it’s not unreasonable to think that they can still continue to produce at a good clip, even if it’s not quite to degree that that have been. Please don’t take this away from us, universe.
2. Will the real Flyers please stand up?
We alluded to this in the introduction, but the Flyers have put up some wildly different performances so far this season. We’ve seen them look flat and like they can’t wait for the chance to shoot themselves in the foot, and we’ve also seen them looking really, really sharp. And since it’s still so early in the season, it’s hard to say just which is more representative of what the Flyers truly are. Are they good? Bad? Average? Each added game to the sample brings us closer to this answer. So which way will this one sway us?
Puck drops at 8:30 tonight, and you can check out the projected lineup below.
Van Riemsdyk – Giroux – Voracek
Lindblom – Couturier – Konecny
Laughton – Hayes – Farabee
Raffl – Vorobyev – Pitlick
Provorov – Niskanen
Sanheim – Braun
Gostisbehere – Hagg