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Flyers kick off 2020, hope to sweep season series against Golden Knights

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Even more #FlyersAfterDark, what a treat!

Vegas Golden Knights v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Happy New Year, folks! The Flyers are back at it in a whole new calendar year, and they’re kicking it off with a game in Vegas against the Golden Knights.

The Flyers, as we know, are coming off a tough loss against the Kings on Tuesday, and they’ll be looking to quickly put that one in the rearview and bounce back tonight against Vegas. The Flyers had been picking up some steam and climbing up the standings in the division, but this little funk that they’ve been in has cost them a bit. They’ve fallen to fifth in the Metro, and while they’re still right there in the mix, they need to make sure that this doesn’t turn into an extended losing streak and cost them more points.

This will be the second of two meetings for these teams this season, and the last time we saw the Golden Knights, the Flyers dispatched of them pretty handily, beating them 6-2 at home. But the Golden Knights have done well to right the ship in the meantime—they’ve won seven of their last 10 games and propelled themselves back into first in the Pacific. It’s a different team than we saw early this season, and they’re not to be taken lightly.

Three players to watch

1. Philippe Myers

Myers figures to be back in the lineup tonight after being scratched for the last few. The Flyers’ third pair has been a bit of a weak spot for them through much of the season, and they’re still looking to find some stability there. It looks like Myers, who’s been stabilizing himself in general recently, will be paired with Travis Sanheim tonight. This is a pair that worked in Lehigh Valley, and that we’re still hopeful will be able to capture some of that same magic at the NHL level. Maybe tonight can be the first step towards that happening? Let’s hope.

2. Joel Farabee

Farabee wasn’t able to get himself on the scoresheet against the Kings, but he was one of the Flyers’ most active and noticeable players on the ice. He had his minutes reduced some, but he took it in stride and made the most of what he was given, and it seemed like whenever the Flyers had a good offensive chance, Farabee was right there in the mix. He’s been in a little bit of a slump recently, but suddenly he looks like he’s knocking on the door again, and if he keeps at it with that level of engagement, it’s not going to be long before things break open for him again.

3. Justin Braun

Tuesday might have been the most, uh, exciting game for Braun this season. He had a goal, almost had a second, and then also screened his own goalie giving the Kings their third power play goal of the game. It’s not really what we’re used to seeing from Braun, who tends to be a quieter, steadier presence. We’re somewhat expecting that he reverts back to that tonight, but who know! New year, new Justin Braun? Is it going to stay weird? I guess we’ll have to see.

Two big questions

1. Can the penalty kill rebound?

It was a tough night to the Flyers’ penalty kill on Tuesday, as they gave up three goals on the night after being pretty consistently effective through much of the season so far. We’re not really used to having to say “yeah, the penalty kill was a real issue tonight,” not this season at least. The Flyers’ penalty kill got picked apart by a not very good Kings power play, and now they’re going to have to buckle back down and get themselves back on track.

2. Will the energy be back?

It’s been something of an up and down last couple of games for the Flyers, as they looked a bit listless against San Jose, then were able to bring some of that energy back against Anaheim, and then looked a bit inconsistent again in LA. It wasn’t a completely flat effort against the Kings, but they weren’t on for the whole game, didn’t play a full 60 minutes as they say, and this isn’t a habit they can afford to slip deeper into. As we alluded to in the intro, the Metro is really tight right now, and the Flyers can’t afford to be conceding periods or games. They can’t be giving anything less than their all.

Puck drops tonight at 10:00, and you can check out the projected lineup below.

Forwards

Giroux - Couturier - Voracek

Van Riemsdyk - Hayes - Konecny

Farabee - Laughton - Pitlick

Raffl - Vorobyev - Aube-Kubel

Defensemen

Provorov - Niskanen

Gostisbehere - Braun

Sanheim Myers

Goalie

Elliott

(Hart)


As this infernal west coast swing comes to a merciful close, the Flyers will take on the Pacific-leading Vegas Golden Knights in the penultimate match before coming back east. And this is not a good time for the Flyers to be playing bad hockey, because the Golden Knights are good. Really good. Jeff Paul of Hockeybuzz gives us some insight into just how good the Knights are playing this season.