Back so soon? Because the schedule this season is madness, after the Flyers picked up a much needed win over the Panthers last night, they’re back at it again tonight, facing off against the Islanders.
The Islanders are in kind of a weird stretch right now—they looked for a hot second like they might be coming back down to Earth, and then they go and beat the Capitals 5-3 last night, so who knows. They are still just one point ahead of the Flyers in the standings, and if they Flyers can pull off a regulation win tonight, they would jump them and the Blue Jackets into third place in the Metro, and within two points of the second place Penguins (or four, if the Penguins also win tonight). But still. *eyes emoji*
Three players to watch
1. Brian Elliott
With Carter Hart making his return to the lineup and getting the start against Florida last night, Elliott figures to get the start tonight. It’s unclear exactly what he’s going to have to work with tonight—we’re used to an Islanders team that doesn’t generate a ton offensively, but they’ve also put up 37 goals over their last 10 games, so it’s been a pretty sharp change for them, recently. All the same, Elliott will have to be ready for whichever Islanders team shows up tonight. We can feel pretty good about this, as he’s been playing pretty well overall, recently. Now he’s back in his regular backup role, and we’re hoping he can keep that strong play rolling.
2. The Myers-Sanheim pair
We’re going with sort of a two for one special with this section, here. We talked a bit about it in our observations from last night’s game, but this pairing, after having a rough start and quite a few growing pains to work through, they’ve really seemed to hit their stride recently. They’re limiting the defensive breakdowns, and their mobility and combined offensive instincts have made them a lot of fun to watch.
They’re still two young players, obviously, and they’re going to make mistakes. We’re not expecting them to be perfect. But we are seeing them developing and looking like they’re capturing some of that magic that they found when they were together with the Phantoms, and we’re excited to see where they go from here.
3. Joel Farabee?
Okay, so, we’re watching for Farabee here, first and foremost, to see if he does indeed play tonight. He’s missed some time with the flu, and it sounded like the goal was to get him back in for this game, but it wasn’t a certainty.
So, if he is back, it’s worth watching to see how quickly he’s able to work himself back up to game speed (which we know can be tough after having the flu). We also imagine he would slide back into the top-9, and that’s an injection they could certainly use.
And, if he’s not back... uh... feel better soon buddy.
Two big questions
1. A little more from the top six?
Last night was kind of a tough one for the Flyers’ top six, as, while they didn’t play positively terribly on all fronts, they did get caved in and allowed a good number of chances to their opponents in their matchups. The Flyers got enough contributions from their bottom six and defense to keep themselves above water, which was nice to see, but we also don’t really want to see their top two lines getting shut down two nights in a row. Especially with it being the second night of a back to back, they’re going to need everybody to show up for this one.
2. Slog-fest incoming?
As we noted already, we’ve got a game tonight featuring two teams on the second half of a back to back, and while there may have only been a little bit of travel involved (the Islanders were in Washington last night and the Flyers just had to get from Philly to Brooklyn),it was still a thing. And all of this is just to say that this particular set of conditions doesn’t usually tend to lead to stellar hockey, so we wouldn’t be surprised if this game winds up being a bit of a slog. That said, the playing field is still pretty even, and we’ve seen the Flyers play well in the second half of back to backs, and it will be up to them to assert themselves and find a way to be the ones to break through.
Puck drops tonight at 7:00, and you can check out the projected lineup below.
Giroux - Couturier - Voracek
Laughton - Hayes - Konecny
JVR - Frost - Farabee
Pitlick - Raffl - NAK
Provorov - Niskanen
Sanheim - Myers
Hagg - Braun
For your listening pleasure ahead of tonight’s game: Kelly caught up with Dan Saraceni from Lighthouse Hockey to talk all things Islanders and let us know what we should expect from their team, in this one.