Coming off a game that, needless to say, we’d all like to forget about, the Flyers head to Anaheim to face the Ducks. Just like the San Jose game, this one looks like it should be a fairly easy win for the Flyers on paper, but we all know how that goes with Philly sports teams. Anaheim is tied for last in the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Kings, who the Flyers play next.
The Ducks are easily one of the least talented teams in the league, especially on the offensive front. They’re 28th in the NHL in goals, and around the middle of the pack in goals allowed with a rank of 13th. They still have one of the more talented goaltenders in the NHL in John Gibson, however even he hasn’t been able to save the Ducks from themselves this season. He’s posted a .907 save percentage in 28 games, and a -1.31 goals saved above average. Of course, his defense has done him no favors, having mediocre expected goals, and Corsi numbers.
For the Flyers, it’s going to be very important to see a much improved effort tonight. They came out flat vs. San Jose and that hasn’t happened a whole lot this season. It’s been rare where the main point of emphasis in a loss has been the team’s effort, but that was the case last night. Does it have anything to do with the team’s they’re playing in this stretch of games? Probably, they’re facing some genuinely bad teams here. However, that can’t be an excuse. This team needs to come out clicking tonight, and a dominating win would put any worries to rest very quickly.
Players to watch for
Claude Giroux — The captain was noticeably one of the more ticked off players during the loss last night, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he came out firing from the jump. Giroux is looking to continue a nice five game stretch, where he’s scored four points. It hasn’t been the greatest season for him so far, but maybe he’s turning it around here of late.
Brian Elliott — Moose has been tremendous this season for the orange and black, seemingly acting as a stabilizer for this team. He’s been the road warrior in net, and he’ll get another chance to do that tonight. In his career vs. the Ducks, Elliott has struggled only posting an .880 save percentage in 15 games. He’ll look to change that tonight.
Two big questions
1. Will the effort be there?
We all know the Ducks are not a good hockey team, but that doesn’t change the fact the Flyers need a better effort. It wasn’t there vs. the Sharks, and these are points that should be easy money for this team as they attempt to keep up with the rest of the Metro.
2. Can the power play look ... competent?
I’m not even asking for goals honestly (well ok maybe I am), but for crying out loud just look like you know what you’re doing. There were brief moments where the Flyers had some decent chances, but nothing sustainable. At some point they have to be better on the power play, and lucky for them the Ducks have a penalty kill percentage of just 78.40, so there’s no better time to fix things.
Flyers projected lineup
Giroux - Couturier - Konecny
JVR - Hayes - Farabee
Laughton - Frost - Voracek
Aube-Kubel - Vorobyev - Pitlick
Provorov - Niskanen
Sanheim - Braun
Gostisbehere - Myers
For this game, Kelly sat down with C.J Woodling again from Anaheim Calling, where believe it or not even with just two weeks in between, there was still tons of good stuff to talk about! Top Ducks prospect Trevor Zegras and his performance at the World Juniors is discussed, Ondrej Kase vs. David Kase, and how good Cam Fowler truly is.