In case you forgot, in their last meeting on Friday, the Flyers came through with a pretty decisive 5-2 win over the Rangers, rallying back after dropping the first goal of the game and pretty well dominating after that.
This win also propelled the Flyers into second in the division, and further helped to solidify their playoff hopes. The Rangers, despite their struggles, are still technically in the mix, sitting two points back of the last wildcard spot, and they’ll be extra motivated to get a little revenge, and also help themselves out in the standings.
Three players to watch
1. Claude Giroux
The biggest highlight from Friday’s game was probably the huge night that Giroux had, as he picked up two goals and just seemed to be everywhere, creating good chances. It just seemed to be one of those games where he was on and able to completely take over and just set his own terms for the whole of the game. And, while it was obviously key to the win, it was also a real treat to watch.
Are we expecting that he’s going to follow up that monster game with one equally as impressive? Not necessarily, but it’s certainly possible. But, in general, it’s going to be worth watching to see just how he follows up Friday’s performance.
2. Carter Hart
After putting up a very strong performance at home on Friday, Hart again gets the nod to start this afternoon, as they continue to keep his workload up as we head down the stretch. As we said, he was good on Friday, and if goes without saying that the Flyers will need him to be good if they hope to win this one. But perhaps even more importantly than just this game individually, we just want to see that he can maintain this level of play down the stretch, heading into the playoffs. And this is the first step.
3. Joel Farabee
Okay. So. Farabee is back already and we’re keeping an eye out to see what happens with him, but we’re including this with the note that we’re not even really sure that he’s going to play today. Derek Grant didn’t practice yesterday, but we’re told this was just maintenance. And because Farabee’s recall wasn’t listed as an emergency recall, signs do point to Grant being good to go for today, which means Farabee might not figure into the lineup for today at least.
And sitting him for a bit purely to give him a bit of a breather (considering he only played 37 games with Boston University last season, plus the seven Workd Juniors games) might not be the worst idea, but we’ll be keeping an eye out to see if his recall was more than a “just in case.”
Two big questions
1. Can the strong special teams play keep rolling?
One of our big takeaways from Friday’s game is that the Flyers got big performances from both of their special teams units. The penalty kill was perfect and kept the Rangers from closing the gap while the Flyers were trying to keep their momentum going, and the power play collected a handful of good chances before ultimately netting a goal. And despite the fact that the Flyers were also very strong at 5-on-5, the key contributions from their special teams really helped to further elevate them over the Rangers in that one. And, if they want to continue that dominance today, they’re going to need their special teams to show up again.
2. Can the Flyers continue their streak(s)?
The Flyers have a couple of fun streaks going on right now. For one, they’re currently on a five-game winning streak, which is nothing to scoff at, and certainly one that we’d like to have them keep going. Because then they can hold on to their position at second in the Metro and create a bit of separation between themselves and the third place Penguins, and also wins are just fun, but that’s pretty obvious.
The other piece is that the Flyers have been doing well to run through bubble teams and work on crushing their playoff hopes. They beat up on a, granted, depleted Blue Jackets team in their last home-and-home and forced them further out of the mix. They ran through the Panthers when they played them twice in a week and pushed them out of the playoff picture, for the time being. The Rangers are still hoping to sneak in, and the Flyers could crush their hopes as well. Which, honestly, would be pretty delightful.
Puck drops at 12:00 today, and you can check out the Flyers’ projected lineup below.
Giroux - Couturier - Voracek
JvR - Hayes - Konecny
Laughton - Grant - Pitlick
Raffl - Thompson - Aube-Kubel
Provorov - Niskanen
Sanheim - Myers
Hagg - Braun