Although this final week of games has done everything in its power to temper the sadness of the final game of the Flyers’ season, it definitely still sucks. Tonight’s game vs. Carolina will be the final Flyers game until September, and put a merciful end to the 2018-19 season. It’s been a wild ride to put it lightly, and one can only hope we can at least get one last victory out of this campaign.
They’ll look to do so vs. the Carolina Hurricanes, a team already locked into the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2008-09 season. You could say the Canes have taken the NHL ... by storm ... this season with their flamboyant post game celebrations, and one can only imagine that will carry over into the postseason. For the Flyers though, there will be no postseason. And while that dampens the mood of tonight’s game, there are some storylines to still watch for.
Mark Friedman will make his NHL debut after receiving his recall yesterday, along with Phil Myers being sent back to Lehigh. The 23 year old had 24 points in 71 games with the Phantoms this season, an eight point improvement from his 16 point debut season with Lehigh in 2017-18. It feels like Friedman has been in the organization forever, and in reality he kind of has. He was drafted in the third round of the 2014 draft and played three seasons for Bowling Green where he had a season high of 26 points. This game will essentially be meaningless for many players, but for Friedman, it’s a chance to show what he’s got and have a nice moment before rejoining his Phantoms teammates for a last ditch effort to make the playoffs.
1. Hey, the awards should be fun.
Something nice about the final home game is the team awards ceremony before puck drop. Also, you know we’re reaching for things to look for in the game when this isn’t even something that affects the game in anyway. It’s been a long season, ok? Anyway, this should provide a nice feel-good moment before the team inevitably loses this game because there would be no more fitting way for this season to end.
2. One last Starter Hart.
One of the very few positives from this season has of course been the play of Carter Hart. The rookie goalie will make his 31st and final appearance this season and look for his 17th win. Hart was sent in vs. St. Louis in relief of Brian Elliott, but barring any last second changes it does look like the original plan will be used and Hart will start. A good game from Hart would be a fantastic way for this season to come to a close and give the fans a glimpse of what they can look forward to on a consistent basis next season. For the first time in a long time, it looks like the Flyers have a goalie they can rely on, and I gotta say it’s a pretty good feeling.
Two players who will be looking for some individual milestones in this game will be James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny. JVR needs a two point game for his third consecutive - and fifth in last six seasons - 50 point campaign. This may not sound like much but considering the winger will only finish the season with 66 games played after an early season injury, this would be quite the feat for JVR in a very productive return to Philadelphia. Travis Konecny, meanwhile, will be looking for his very first 50 point season. He sits at 48 points as well and after a 47 point year in 2017-18, Konecny will hope to reach the half-century mark for the first time. Regardless, this has been a solid year for TK after a slow start, and overall a solid third NHL season.
Flyers Projected Lineup
Oskar - Coots - GDaddy
JVR - Multipass - Jake
Hartsy2 - Laughts - TK
Raffl - Varone
Provorov — Sanheim
Gostisbehere — Friedman
Morin — Gudas