Thanks to back-to-back wins over the Bruins and Blues, the Flyers are suddenly feeling pretty good about themselves once again.
Jakub Voracek gave the Flyers another overtime win as he sunk the Blues with a pretty move late in the extra session a few nights after a shootout win against the Bruins thanks to Brad Marchand’s gaffe.
Now the Flyers will look to make it three-straight and four of five when the Canadiens come to the Wells Fargo Center.
Montreal has been the very definition of meh this season. Claude Julien’s team is 20-20-7, sitting comfortably in the middle of nowhere in the standings —aka not in prime draft lottery territory and firmly not a playoff contender. They’ve done this by somehow only boasting a -3 goal differential while sandwiched among far worse than them.
Their power play ain’t bad (11th overall), but their penalty kill (23rd) has seen better days as that’s generally been the thing holding them back this season. That and, well, uh is Carey Price cooked? The veteran has struggled to a .907 save percentage and a 2.87 goals-against average in 38 games thus far. Now 32, the Canadiens have needed more than Price’s -2.13 goals saved above average. It should be noted that Keith Kinkaid hasn’t been very good whenever Price has had to sit so perhaps the former Vezina Trophy winner is being vastly overworked.
As for the Flyers they have their own netminding issues thanks to a muscle strain for Carter Hart. He’ll miss 2-3 weeks with the injury over the All-Star break and the Flyers will turn the bulk of the duties to Brian Elliott. After a fast start, Elliott has posted just an .840 save percentage in seven games since the start of December. Not ideal. Good news is that due to the break and the Flyers’ wacky schedule, Hart has a chance to only miss about five or so games with the timeline given on his injury.
The win over the Blues highlighted some stellar special teams work from the Flyers, who killed off a 5-on-3 and five of six penalties on the evening to help secure two points against one of the NHL’s best teams. Not only that, but the power play provided a goal of their own with Travis Konecny putting home a pretty passing play to start the third period. Special teams providing some support is a welcome sign, and hopefully continues this evening against the Habs.
Players to watch
Sanheim activated some offense against the Bruins with a pair of goals in the Flyers’ come-from-behind win while skating over 25 minutes. With Shayne Gostisbehere out for a few more weeks the Flyers can use all the help they can get on the backend and Sanheim providing productive minutes and offense is huge. Let’s see if he can keep the hot hand going against the Canadiens.
TK has enjoyed a lot of success in his young career against Montreal with eight points in 10 games, including five goals. He’s been buzzing in the last few games and has had a few goals to show for it, look for another to come in this one.
The captain has just two assists in his last five games, and the Flyers need him to pick up the pace as the injuries pile up and the power play continues to wallow with just one goal in their last five games (14 chances). While others have started to shoulder the scoring load like Sean Couturier and TK, the Flyers wait on Giroux to work the magic we’ve come to know from No. 28.
Flyers projected lineup
Giroux - Hayes - Konecny
Raffl - Couturier - Voracek
JVR - Laughton - Farabee
NAK - Bunnaman - Pitlick
Provorov - Niskanen
Sanheim - Braun
Hagg - Myers
With each passing game, the Montreal Canadiens get closer to a reality that doesn’t include the playoffs. They’re battling injuries to key players, the special teams are a mess, and their goaltender is underperforming. So, what are the Flyers going to get when the Habs come into the Farg tonight? Laura Saba of Locked on Canadiens joined us to fill us in on what’s been happening in Montreal since the teams met last.