We’re back, folks! We’ve had a nice couple of days off and we all hope you had a lovely Halloween, and now it’s November and we’re back to talking about the Flyers. They got pretty well walloped in their last game against Pittsburgh on Tuesday, dropping that one 7-1 and falling to sixth in their division. They’ve been struggling some, of late, finding themselves now on a two game losing streak and looking not very good at all, but they’ve got some reinforcements coming, and they’re looking to get back on track tonight in New Jersey.
The good news, perhaps, is that if they’re looking for an easy opponent on paper to help them right the ship, the Devils figure to be it. When these two teams last met in the Flyers’ home opener, the Flyers dished out a pretty commanding 4-0 win, and things haven’t gotten a whole lot better for the Devils since then. They’re comfortably in last place in the division, and have still only picked up two wins through the whole of the season. It’s been something of an all-around struggle for them—they’ve only registered 28 goals across their first 10 games, while they’ve allowed 43. Which, just, yikes. Here’s hoping the Flyers can take advantage of that.
Three players to watch
1. Carter Hart
It’s Starter Hart time again, folks! It’s been something of a rough go for Hart over his last couple of games, but he’s had a bit of time off, and got to play some low stress minutes during the final period of Tuesday’s game in Pittsburgh, and ideally this should be a good thing for him to build on. He played very well last time he faced the Devils, and we’re hoping that he can tap into that same magic. He’ll need the defense in front of his to help out a bit, certainly, but this seems, on paper, to be a manageable game for Hart. So we’ll be watching to see if he’s close to working himself back into old form.
2. German Rubtsov
And we’ve got a brand new face joining the team for tomorrow’s game! After a solid start to his season in Lehigh Valley, Rubtsov’s been called up and is set to make his NHL debut tonight. He had a good training camp as well, and through his efforts had many of us feeling like he was much closer to NHL ready than we initially thought. And now he’s here, and with the Flyers looking to mix things up a bit in the bottom-six, Rubtsov will have to prove that he can bring some of his stabilizing presence, as well as offensive jump, to the NHL level. it’s an exciting day for him, and we’re just as excited to see what he can do.
3. Jack Hughes
We’re mixing things up and it’s not just Flyers that we’re watching! We already saw the 2019 first overall pick once this season, and if we’re being honest, he looked like he was struggling a bit. But Hughes seems to be hitting his stride of late, as he’s registered two goals and three assists in his last four games. The Devils’ offense may be struggling some, but Hughes is someone who’s been driving it of late, so the Flyers will need to find a way to make sure he’s contained.
Two big questions
1. How will the kids fare?
We’ve talked about Rubtsov already, but he’s not the only new or relatively new kid looking to make an impact in this one. Joel Farabee’s still looking for his first NHL goal after being called up last week. Philippe Myers and Carsen Twarynski are back and will be looking for play themselves into more or less permanent roles with the big club. There’s more on the line than just a win for the team, and it’ll be interesting to see which of the new young players rise to the occasion.
2. Will the Flyers clean up the details?
We don’t really have to rehash all of this, but the Flyers have been kind of a mess of late. The defensive breakdowns have been ugly, they’ve been giving up a lot of high quality chances while not registering many of their own, and their transition play has been a bit rough. We can look for all of the excuses we want, but the fact remains that they just need to be better. They’ve had a couple of days to collect themselves and one good practice, and now it’s up to the Flyers to prove that they’re able to break those bad habits and not let things start to spiral.
Puck drop is at 7:00 tonight, and you can check out the projected lineup below.
Van Riemsdyk – Giroux – Voracek
Lindblom – Couturier – Konecny
Raffl – Hayes – Farabee
Twarynski – Rubtsov – Stewart
Provorov – Niskanen
Gostisbehere – Braun
Sanheim – Myers