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Flyers vs. Bruins preview: National television, here we are

The Flyers getting a national television game at this point in the season is ... interesting.

Philadelphia Flyers Vs Boston Bruins At TD Garden Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers are headed to play the Boston Bruins in Beantown for a showcase on national television.

This matchup between the Bruins and Flyers is the third and final game between the two teams for the season. The season series is tied at one, as the Bruins took the second game 5-2 and the Flyers won the first game at 6-3.

The Bruins have played 33 games tied with six other teams for the third least amount of games played so far in 2021-22. They sit fourth in the Atlantic Division with a 20-11-2 record. They are seven points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs in third and five points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings in fifth. They currently hold the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

In their last 10 games, the Bruins have a 7-3-0 record, and they’re riding a three-game win streak with decisive wins against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, and Montreal Canadiens. Brad Marchand has been the leader in points in the last five games, with nine and eight goals. Matt Grzelyck had his first career five-point game against the Capitals, and he has six assists in his previous five games, which leads the team. The Bruins have been playing like one of the best teams in the NHL as of late, and it’s going to be a tough test for a Flyers team that is relatively shorthanded.

Speaking of the Flyers, this last stretch of games has been extremely rough. After their 3-2 overtime win against the Seattle Kraken, they’ve gone on another stretch of poor play and losing games. A five-game losing streak is a result, and they sit with a 4-3-3 record in their last 10 games. They’re tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets with 33 points, but they sit sixth in the Metropolitan Division behind them because the Jackets have one game in hand.

The Flyers are nine points out of the second wild-card spot, and the idea that they could recover and make the playoffs is slowly growing bleaker as each game passes. The play has just been uninspired, and with so many players missing from their roster, it has been tough to get the new players acclimated to the NHL and win games.

Cam Atkinson and Joel Farabee have been the drivers of offense for a Flyers team that has been barren of it with the likes of Claude Giroux and Travis Konecny out of the lineup for a short period of time, and Sean Couturier up on the shelf for an extended period as well. It has been a treat to watch when they’ve been on the ice. The stats show it as well. In their last five games, Atkinson leads the team in points and assists with six and four respectively. Farabee leads the team in goals with two, an embarrassingly low number compared to Marchand’s.

Carter Hart has been one of the only bright spots for a Flyers team that has played like one of the worst teams in the NHL. His numbers are good enough to put him in the conversation for the Vezina Trophy, but because of how bad his team is performing, it’s tough to pencil him in at this point.

The Flyers will have a tough test on national television, and winning the game would be huge for a roster that looks as if it’s lacking lots of confidence at this point in the season.

Bruins Player to Watch

The Bruins have many players that could be the key to a fan’s focus when they tune into the game. However, the biggest one at this point would probably be Marchand. Against the Canadiens, he scored a hat trick, and he has been one of the team’s best goal scorers over this strong stretch of play. He has 39 points in 28 games and sits second in the NHL in points per 60 minutes, only behind Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri.

Everyone knows what Marchand can do in terms of antics. Whether it’s licking people or straight-up talking trash, he’s a pest no matter which perspective he’s viewed from. He just went viral around the hockey world for getting involved with Patrick Maroon of the Tampa Bay Lightning. “I own you, I f**king own you.”, Marchand said. Maroon responded, “I got three Stanley Cups. How many you got?”

Even if he loses those chirping battles, Marchand is still involving himself with the other team somehow. If he’s not scoring, he’s finding different ways to make an impact, whether it’s verbally or physically.

Flyers Player to Watch

With many of the players that I would traditionally choose for this section out of the running for different reasons, there are a finite number of options. If there was one player that I would tell neutral observers to watch out for tonight, it would be Atkinson. He is playing some very strong hockey right now, and it appears as if the shooting slump is beginning to wane. As I mentioned earlier, being paired with Farabee has brought a load of offense to the table, even if they’re the only ones creating it.

When he’s on, he can score at will. Atkinson showed how lethal his shot could be early in the season when he was being set up from every possible angle. Now, with plenty of the players who were setting him up hurt or on the Covid protocol list, it’s to a lesser extent. However, he appears to be returning to that form. It’s what the Flyers needed during a tough stretch of games, and it’s vital that he continues to play well against a strong Bruins team.

Projected Lineup

Joel Farabee - Claude Giroux - Cam Atkinson

James van Riemsdyk - Kevin Hayes - Travis Konecny

Jackson Cates - Scott Laughton - Oskar Lindblom

Max Willman - Morgan Frost - Zack MacEwen

Ivan Provorov - Travis Sanheim

Cam York - Justin Braun

Keith Yandle - Nick Seeler

Carter Hart

(Martin Jones)

That’s all from me, everyone! Go Flyers!