We’re back at it again already, folks! The Flyers picked up a sort of messy overtime win last night over the Islanders, and now they’re going to be right back out there again tonight for the rematch.
As we said, it wasn’t a very pretty win last night for the Flyers—after a dominant first period, the Islanders pretty much completely took over and had the Flyers pretty well back on their heels. They were able to hang on for overtime, though, and Scott Laughton proved the hero, but the Flyers will certainly be looking to bring a more complete effort tonight. They’ll be getting a bit of a boost though, as Travis Konecny will be back in the lineup after a one-game healthy scratching, so here’s hoping that enough.
Three players to watch
1. Travis Konecny
And, with that note, it makes sense that Konecny would be our first player to watch for the evening. It’s not entirely clear why he was the one, out of a bunch of underperforming forwards, to find himself scratched for last night’s game, but he was, and now it’s his chance to get himself back on track and show that the night off, the chance to reset, did him some good. We don’t really expect to see a night and day difference, like after one night off a switch flipped and he’s right back to looking like the top goal scorer he was last season. But we’re hoping, at the very least, to see some level of improvement.
2. Brian Elliott
It’s not much of a surprise, given that it’s a back-to-back weekend, but Alain Vigneault confirmed last night that Elliott would be getting the start against the Islanders tonight. He’s had a fine season to date, nothing stellar, but certainly solid given the defense (or lack thereof) happening in front of him. The Flyers, though, overall last night did a good job of blocking shots and keeping the Islanders pretty well to the outside, and in the process making Carter Hart’s life a little easier, and we’re hoping to see a similar defensive effort from them tonight. We know that’ Elliott’s very capable of coming in and doing the backup thing solidly, but he could use some help too.
3. Philippe Myers
And speaking of that help, the Flyers did get some defensive reinforcements back for this weekend, as Myers was able to return from his rib injury and get back into the lineup. His first game back was fine, and he had himself a pretty significant workload, playing 23;17, the most on the team behind only Ivan Provorov. So maybe it was something of a trial by fire, but it was one that worked well enough. Myers still seems to be getting back to speed, so we’ll be keeping an eye out to see how he’s doing and if he can finish out the weekend strong. Because having him back period is a huge boost for the Flyers, but if they can really get him going soon, that would be even better.
Two big questions
1. Can the Flyers bring closer to a 60-minute effort?
Perhaps one of the more shocking bits from last night’s game was the fact that the Flyers played a really strong opening period. They came out with a whole lot for jump and looked to be pretty well dominating, and picked up two goals in the process. But that momentum pretty quickly fizzled out as soon as we made it through the first intermission, and suddenly the Flyers were back to looking listless and disorganized. They had build enough of a buffer that they were able to hold on for overtime, so in this case it ended up working out okay, but it’s easy to have imagined this going badly for them in a big way. Simply, the Flyers will need to play for more than 23 minutes if they want to win this game tonight. They need to come out with a more complete effort.
2. Can the penalty kill keep rolling?
One of the positives of last night’s game, though, was that the penalty kill looked sharp and was able to come out perfect on the night. And this was an encouraging sight—we’ve seen the penalty kill (which was once a strength of theirs last season) struggling pretty mightily through this first handful of games, so it was nice to see them getting closer to old form and not falling victim to the absolute worst case scenario defensive breakdown on what felt like every other attempt. They’ve tightened up, and the results so far have been positive.
We’d also like to see a bit less of the penalty kill, if we’re honest, but at least they seem to be trending in the right direction.
Puck drops tonight at 7:00, and you can check out the projected lines below.
Giroux - Patrick - Voracek
van Riemsdyk - Hayes - Lindblom
Farabee- Laughton - Konecny
Raffl - Bunnaman - Aube-Kubel
Provorov - Gostisbehere
Sanheim - Myers
Braun - Gustafsson