The Flyers have dealt with plenty of adversity this season, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be any end in sight on that front.
Though the Flyers will be on the ice for the next two nights in Minnesota and Winnipeg to close out a three-game road trip, their minds will almost certainly be torn between playing the game they love and thinking about one of their own.
Oskar Lindblom’s Ewing’s sarcoma diagnosis hit everyone hard a day ago, and the hockey community has rallied behind the 23-year-old in the hours since. Lindblom is undergoing treatment and is expected to miss the rest of the season as he battles the form of bone cancer.
While Lindblom has a fight off the ice, his teammates may find sanctuary on the ice in the coming days and months as they press on with life without No. 23 on the lineup card. It’s a tall task to replace the versatile do-it-all forward, but even harder given the nature of the person, but nevertheless the Flyers must press forward.
After a convincing 3-1 loss to the speedy Avalanche on Wednesday night, the Flyers look to regroup against the Wild this evening. A slow start has faded for the Wild, who are on a 6-1-3 run in their last 10 games and on the outside looking in of a jammed Western Conference picture.
It’s been a struggle in net as Devan Dubnyk has been away from the team for personal reasons in the last few weeks as Alex Stalock has tried to stay afloat behind a lackluster roster. Offensively the Wild don’t light things up, with leading scorers Jason Zucker and Eric Staal registering just 23 points in 32 games. Not your typical high-flying offensive team from coach Bruce Boudreau, but injuries to Mikko Koivu and Jared Spurgeon have also played a role of late.
Injuries have also created plenty of depth issues for the Flyers, who are still without the services of Travis Konecny and Michael Raffl in addition to the off-ice situations of Nolan Patrick and now Lindblom. All four of the those players see time in the Flyers’ top-six and has created a nearly impossible task for Alain Vigneault and his staff to ice an effective lineup night-in and night-out.
Three players to watch for:
When adversity hits the guys in the room look to the leadership council to set the tone moving forward and Giroux is one of the NHL’s best in terms of leading by example. No doubt Giroux has already briefed the team about focusing on what they can control on the ice and playing for the guy that can’t right now.
James van Riemsdyk
With TK already out and now Lindblom gone for the season, the Flyers simply can’t wait around any longer for JVR to get going. He needs to start producing like yesterday, and if he doesn’t the Flyers will struggle to score goals and win games in the meantime.
With such large pieces of their scoring production on the shelf right now the Flyers can use scoring from any and all avenues they can get it from. You know who could provide some of that? The Ghost. Now is the time for Gostisbehere to find his game (two goals in his last five) and provide extra offense from the backend and on the power play.
Flyers projected lineup
Giroux — Frost — Pitlick
Kase— Couturier — Voracek
Laughton — Hayes — Farabee
JVR — Vorobyev — Kase
Provorov — Niskanen
Sanheim — Braun
Gostisbehere — Myers
The Flyers head into Minnesota off of a well-earned, yet somehow not that bad, loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Fellow Flyers fan and managing editor of Hockey Wilderness, Ryan Quigley, joins us to give us the skinny on Chuck’s old team.