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Flyers look to continue winning ways vs. floundering Sharks

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Yes you’re damn right I made a pun in the headline, what of it?

Photo by Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images

After picking up their third straight win on Saturday vs. the Winnipeg Jets, the Flyers play their first game after the trade deadline vs. the San Jose Sharks. Two new faces join the orange and black for tonight’s game in Derek Grant and Nate Thompson. Two faces also won’t be in the lineup tonight, with Joel Farabee and Connor Bunnaman being sent down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

San Jose was also busy yesterday, sending Barclay Goodrow and Patrick Marleau out the door in an attempt to re-tool as they continue to struggle this season. They’re tied for the fourth fewest points in the entire NHL this season with their Pacific Division rivals in the Anaheim Ducks. So, with the fact they actively made their team worse for this season, the Flyers need to take care of business tonight. Every game is important this time of year, but beating up on bad teams like the Sharks has to happen.

In their first meeting this season, the Flyers got their teeth kicked in as the Sharks went on to win 6-1. Carter Hart started on the road, and gave up all six goals in what turned out to be a miserable west coast road trip at the end of the calendar year. I’m sure the Flyers have that game in mind coming into tonight, and will be looking to exact revenge.

Players to watch

The new guys - Both Derek Grant and Nate Thompson are easy picks here, given they’ll both play their first games as members of the Flyers tonight. While these aren’t the biggest names to watch for, they still could be two guys who make a solid impact on this team and bring a ton of veteran leadership, along with strong penalty killing.

Shayne Gostisbehere - Ghost will be making his first start since February 6 vs. New Jersey, and just his second since January 7. It’s been a rough year for Gostisbehere with not playing well when healthy, and struggling to stay healthy. He returns to the lineup tonight hoping to return to form and give this team a huge boost on the back end. Getting Gostisbehere going would be massive for this team down the stretch.

Two big questions

1. Which new guy will make the biggest impact?

Pretty straight forward here, which of Grant or Thompson will have the better game? They’re both getting a quick opportunity to show why Chuck Fletcher pulled the trigger on trading for them.

2. Can the power play solve the Sharks’ PK?

Despite all of the Sharks struggles this season, they do possess the league’s best penalty kill at an 86.1 percent. This could be a less than ideal matchup for the Flyers’ power play which is just 16th in the league, so it will be huge if they can grab at least one goal on the man advantage tonight.

Flyers projected lineup

Forwards

Giroux — Couturier — Voracek

Laughton — Hayes — Konecny

JVR — Grant — Pitlick

Raffl — Thompson — Aube-Kubel

Defensemen

Provorov — Niskanen

Sanheim — Myers

Gostisbehere — Braun

Goalie

Hart

(Elliott)


The Sharks are having quite the rough go of it this season, with injuries, players underperforming, goaltending woes, and more. Sie Morley, the community editor for California team brands of SB Nation and managing editor for Fear the Fin chats with Kelly about all of that and more.