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Flyers look to put disastrous month of March behind them, open April vs. Islanders

New month, new Flyers? Probably not, but it’s a nice thought.

Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Ah, we’re really doing this again are we? Alright, let’s get this over with.

After... whatever the hell the month of March was, the Flyers look to turn things around (don’t worry I chuckled too) against the New York Islanders. It will be no small feat, as the Islanders are tied for the top spot in the East Division with the Washington Capitals. The Flyers meanwhile have slid to fifth place, three points out of fourth, but hoo boy does it feel like so much more.

With the trade deadline in just nine days, the heat is on for this group. They have four games before the deadline, two against the Islanders, two against the Bruins, not exactly a walk in the park. How this team fares over this stretch more or less will determine what Chuck Fletcher will do before the April 10 deadline.

Say by some kind of batshit miracle the Flyers win three of four, or even all four if we’re feeling frisky, this most likely puts us right back in the thick of it somehow. This could prompt Fletcher to buy in some capacity at the deadline. Lose two or more in regulation? It should mean selling, emphasis on should.

If this team doesn’t come out with a sense of urgency over these next four games, I think that tells us all we need to know about the direction this team needs to take.

Two big questions

1. Will they come to play?

The lifeless starts have plagued this team seemingly all season, and especially of late. Even when they do get off to a good start, a fluke goal goes in or one defensive breakdown ends up in the back of the net. This team needs a good start for once, and play like their jobs are on the line.

2. Can they solve the Islanders’ neutral zone defense?

This is always the big question mark vs. a Barry Trotz team. The Islanders NZ defense is a tough cookie to crack but if accomplished, it could be a good night for the orange and black. If they don’t, we’re gonna be in for a long, boring, frustrating night.

Lineup notes

  • Per the Flyers, Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom will return to the lineup tonight
  • Practice lines
  • Hart gets the nod in net
  • Assuming we roughly see the practice lines, very interested in the NHL debut of Tanner Laczynski, who had been lighting the world on fire in Lehigh
  • For the love of everything that is holy, keep Gustafsson out of the lineup