The Flyers are back on Long Island and desperate for points as their slim playoff hopes continue to fade.
They find themselves seven points out of a wild card spot, though they do have two games in hand on the Canadiens (79 points), who currently occupy the final playoff spot. Carolina holds the other wild card spot with 79 points, but they’ve played the same amount of games as the Flyers.
The good news is that the Flyers just beat this same Islanders team in this very same arena. That one was this past Sunday, a 4-1 Flyers win on the strength of the Travii and a stellar performance from Brian Elliott in goal.
The Flyers will need that Elliott, and not the one that got shelled last time out against the Caps. Elliott lasted just 24 minutes in that one, stopping 15 of 19 shots before being pulled by Scott Gordon.
Given the Flyers’ remote playoff hopes (6.2% per HockeyReference), they can’t afford to drop points in this one.
Jake Voracek returns
After missing two games with a lower body injury Voracek is ready to return and the Flyers badly need his playmaking. The 11 forwards, seven defenseman look from coach Scott Gordon has had its ups and downs, but getting Voracek back will get the Flyers back to a more conventional look.
The Flyers jumped all over the Isles last Sunday, scoring twice in the first period and coasting from there. The Islanders know how to play with a lead and playing from behind against a Barry Trotz team isn’t fun for anyone.
Scoring first is huge for the Flyers in this one, and using the same formula as they did last Sunday would go a long way in securing much needed points on Long Island.
Getting Voracek back helps, and the Flyers are gonna need their stars to show up in a big way. Claude Giroux is riding a five-game point scoring streak and Sean Couturier has points in four of his last five.
Gordon needs all of his stars to show up, and early, as the Flyers fell too far behind the Caps and can’t afford another slow start on Long Island.
Flyers Projected Lineup
Lindblom - Couturier - Voracek
van Riemsdyk - Patrick - Giroux
Raffl - Laughton - Konecny
Varone - Knight - Hartman
Provorov - Sanheim
Gostisbehere - Myers
Hagg - Gudas