Thanksgiving is almost upon us for all of our American readers, but we’re not quite there yet. We’ve still got one more work day to get through, and one more Flyers game tonight!
The Flyers, coming off a pretty nice win over the Canucks at home on Monday, will be looking to hit the holiday on a high note, and continue to work their way back up the standings. They’re hanging out at fifth in the Metro, just one point back from fourth-place Pittsburgh and two behind third-place Carolina. Things are pretty tight in the middle of the division, and the Flyers, still playing some good hockey, are right in the mix.
Tonight they’ll be meeting the Blue Jackets for the second time this season, and since we last saw them, they’ve seemed to lose a bit of steam (but might be picking it back up again?). They’ve slipped to second to last in the Metro, and while they’ve only won five of their last 10 games, four of those have come in their last five games. They’ve scored the second fewest goals in the division (59), but have scored three or more goals in four of their last five games (and scored five in two of them!). So it’s all sort of weird right now. The Blue Jackets might be surging again? Hopefully not really.
Three players to watch
1. Jakub Voracek
Voracek, on a new line with Sean Couturier, is riding a two-game goal streak and is finally starting to look like he’s getting going. This is good news, as scoring outside of a couple of players wasn’t really happening with too much consistency to start the season. The hope here is that Voracek will be able to stabilize his game a bit more, and if he stays on this line, cool, it’s working for now, but if they’re able to put him on a different line and he’s able to spark that one, all the better.
But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. For now, Voracek is playing with Couturier, and that line is looking sharp. Let’s see if Voracek can extend that scoring streak to three games.
2. Brian Elliott
After we saw Carter Hart get the start on Monday, it’s Brian Elliott’s turn tonight in Columbus. Since Hart’s gotten back into regular form, Elliott’s workload has been decreased, and he’s back in the role we were more or less expecting to start the season—backup goalie who will come in every once in a while and do a fine to good job, and so far he's been able to do just that! As we alluded to in the intro, it isn’t really clear which Blue Jackets team well get tonight—the one who struggles to generate offense or the one who’s able to generate a ton—but especially if it’s the latter, they’ll most definitely need Elliott to be on.
3. Joel Farabee
It’s been, relatively speaking, a quiet past few games for Farabee. He hasn’t been bad by any means, but he also hasn’t had quite the same jump that we saw from him when he first made the jump to the NHL. We’re not really too worked up about this, but we’d still like to see a bit more from him. The good news is that he seems to be trending in the right direction—Monday’s game against the Canucks showed him looking like he had a bit more jump in creating chances—and with a player as highly skilled as Farabee, it’s hard to imagine his “slump” going on for too long. We’re expecting it to break sooner rather than later, so why not tonight?
Two big questions
1. Will the Flyers start finishing?
One of the more frustrating trends to start emerging through the last couple of games is that the Flyers have shown the ability to really take over games and generate a ton of quality chances, but have struggled to convert on many of them. They have the right idea, but the timing, the execution just isn’t quite there. We might reasonably expect that if they keep generating this many chances that eventually they’ll start going in, but it’s not going to happen on its own. The Flyers need to do better to support their linemates and the plays that they’re going for, to be a more cohesive unit. They looked better on Monday than they did on Saturday, so at least they’re taking some steps in the right direction, but they’re still not all the way there.
2. Is tonight the night? Will the power play do the thing?
The Flyers’ power play hasn’t been looking terribly sharp, of late, this isn’t really news to us. We know that the power play has also been streaky, and expect that it should hit an upswing sooner or later, but it doesn’t make things less frustrating while we wait for that to happen. Maybe we don’t need to see the scoring burst open right away (although that would be ideal), we’d like to see them looking like they’re trending in the right direction. Generate some more chances, maintain more zone time, just do something. We ask for so little around here.
Puck drop is at 7:00 tonight, and you can check out the projected lineup below.
Flyers Projected Lineup
Lindblom — Couturier — Voracek
Giroux — Frost — Konecny
Laughton — Hayes — Farabee
JVR — Raffl — Pitlick
Provorov — Niskanen
Sanheim — Braun
Hagg — Myers
It’s been almost precisely one month since the Flyers last met up with the Columbus Blue Jackets, which, if you recall, was a 7-4 barn-burner. We may not see that many goals tonight, but we’re hoping to see some good hockey and, if we’re lucky, two points from a game against a Metro team. We’re joined again by Pale Dragon from The Cannon to see what’s changed for the Columbus Blue Jackets and what we can expect to see on the ice in tonight’s game.