We’re right back at it again, folks! The Flyers dropped their 11th game in a row on Saturday against a struggling Sabres team, and we’re really getting into historically bad territory here. The Flyers are kicking off this next back-to-back with ta matchup against the Stars, and are hoping to start this off on the right foot, and also stop the bleeding on this losing streak.
As has been the case with, well, all of their opponents of late, the Flyers are going to have their work cut out for them. It’s been a bit up and down for the Stars, but they’re still getting some good results—they’re sitting at fifth in the Central and have won six of their last ten, including their last two in a row, and are looking to start up a proper winning streak of their own. And hey, they’re bringing our old pal Michael Raffle along with with them (he’s not playing, but he’s still there)!
Players to watch
1. Nick Seeler
Oh man. The Flyers are going with an 11F/7D lineup tonight, Nick Seeler is back in the lineup, and he’s going to be playing forward. Surely this is going to go well.
And the Flyers are in a tough spot here. With Wade Allison taking a knee injury in Saturday’s game, they’re down to 11 healthy forwards (or more like 10.5, Zack MacEwen is a little banged up, but he’s still playing). And while they did call up Linus Sandin and Connor Bunnaman to the taxi squad and do have more forwards technically available, they both played back to back Saturday and Sunday, and travelled back from Charlotte last night to join the Flyers as they stare down their own back to back tonight and tomorrow. So it makes sense that they should give them a day of rest, but it just means things are going to be weird tonight.
2. Carter Hart
After coming in in relief on Saturday and doing just fine, Hart will be back and getting the start tonight. He’s been very good throughout the season, and as we’ve sort of beaten to death as a point, it’s a shame that he’s not really getting the support from the skaters in front.
But hey, he’s back at it, and he might be catching a little bit of a break. Anything can happen in a single game sample, but the Stars are towards the bottom of the league in shots per game (though that’s still 30.68 shots). We’re a little too afraid to bank on it being an easy night for him, because nothing has been easy this season, but it’s something.
Two big questions
1. How’s the jump?
The Flyers seem to be riding a bit of a wave here in terms of the energy level and cleanness in their game over this last stretch. As soon as they start looking a little less flat and like they’re taking a step in the right direction, they fall back with a pretty listless effort like Saturday’s, and all of that “well here we go again” fatalism spirals back out of control. But the fact that Saturday was so bad might well mean that we’re due for another upswing. They’re going to have their work cut out for them, playing with a lineup as depleted as this one, but you know what they say, the one thing you can always control is your attitude. We’ll see if we get a good one from the Flyers tonight.
2. Can the penalty kill take a step forward?
The Flyers have been getting decent results from their penalty kill of late, but Saturday was not a strong showing for them. They didn’t face a ton of chances, but they still gave up three goals, and it was frankly pretty brutal to watch. It was a game of just the ugliest possible breakdowns happening at the worst time, and that certainly carried over to the penalty kill as well. We’re hesitant to say with any certainty that things can’t possibly get any worse, but it would take some actual work to get worse. So maybe they take a step back in the right direction here! Here’s hoping.
Puck drops tonight at 7, and you can check out the projected lineup below.
van Riemsdyk - Giroux - Atkinson
Lindblom - Laughton - Konecny
Mayhew - Frost - Willman
Seeler - Cates - MacEwen
Provorov - Braun
Sanheim - Ristolainen
Yandle - York