Well, the Flyers are playing another hockey game today. The nerve of these guys.
This is the tail-end of a back-to-back for the Flyers, as yesterday they lost in a particularly maddening fashion against the New York Islanders. That loss pretty much put the final nail in the coffin for any playoff hopefuls still running around out there, God bless you all. Although it isn’t quite mathematically official, that will happen shortly. Then we can all relax.
Considering the level of energy the Flyers were showing yesterday, I anticipate a molly-whopping at the hands of the division-leading Washington Capitals. It seems only fair and logical. I am only being realistic. This is a valid thing for me to do and say.
The Capitals are unsurprisingly good. These are the reigning Stanley Cup champions, so that’s not really news to anyone. They’ve consistently been one of the best teams in hockey for years now, and performances by their core players—namely a couple of fellas by the names of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, perhaps you have heard of them—have played a huge role in that. This season has also seen the emergence of Tom Wilson as being a, uh, goal-scorer? Stranger things have happened. I’m still unhappy about it.
Do I still have to call these “must-win” games? Are we past that yet?
STEP ONE: For the love of God, cover Ovechkin on the power play
There are no excuses. You must do this. End of story.
How many times have you seen a patented Ovechkin power play goal and noticed that no one on the opposing team was covering him? It’s happened an absurd amount of times in the past however-many-years, and every single time I am filled with wonder and awe. I know, I know, I don’t play the game, I’ll never know what it’s like to be on the ice during those high-stress moments, whatever, but it’s goddamn Ovechkin. You know where he likes to score. You know that he rarely misses. Come on, guys.
I have a feeling, a very sneaking suspicion, that this segment of the preview is not going to age well. Just a hunch.
STEP TWO: Be aggressive and energetic
I’m thinking this might be where the Flyers struggle today. As evidenced by yesterday’s game, there’s just not a lot of fuel left in the tank, and despite my constant complaining, I don’t blame them. They’d dug a hole for themselves in the first half of the season and have spent the past few months desperately clawing their ways out of it, to really no avail. I imagine they’re exhausted.
If they want to be in this game at all from the getgo, they need to find some hidden reserves of energy inside of them. This will be a rested Capitals team poised to steamroll into the first round of playoffs much like they did last year. They’re stacked offensively and can—and will—easily capitalize (haha) on mistakes. The Flyers need to match the pace of their game, be just as strong on the puck and sharp in all zones, in order to have a chance here.
STEP THREE: Don’t let Tom Wilson score on us
My heart just wouldn’t be able to take it, okay?
Flyers Projected Lineup:
Lindblom — Couturier — Giroux
JVR — Patrick — Voracek
Hartman — Laughton — Konecny
Raffl — Knight — Bailey
Provorov — Sanheim
Gostisbehere — Myers
Hagg — Gudas