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Preview: Flyers travel to Boston hoping to rise to the challenge

The Flyers will face the best team in the league while trying to stave off a fifth consecutive loss

NHL: JAN 13 Flyers at Bruins Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Flyers are on the road tonight, taking their worst losing streak of the season into Boston’s TD Garden to face the best team in the league.

The Flyers have lost four in a row, just barely squeaking a point out of their OT loss to the Blue Jackets on Tuesday. In those four games, they’ve given up five goals three times and four goals once.

Meanwhile, the Bruins have won four in a row and are 9-0 at home this year, setting a franchise record for most consecutive home wins to start a season. On paper it’s a goalie battle—Linus Ullmark is off to a career-best start, leading the league in wins and save percentage and Carter Hart has been one of the league’s five best goalies through the first fifth of the season—but the Bruins offensive firepower might have something to say about that.

Combined with the Phillies going down looking in the World Series, the Union losing one of the most brutal losses you’ll ever see in the finals, and the Eagles taking their first loss of the season this week, the Flyers coming back down to Earth a little bit and starting to resemble what we all thought they were—record-wise, at least—has helped to swing the Philly sports pendulum pretty quickly in the opposite direction of where it was just a week or two ago.

Go Flyers.

Flyers projected lineup

Scott Laughton—Kevin Hayes—Travis Konecny
Owen Tippett—Noah Cates—Zack MacEwen
Max Willman—Morgan Frost—Joel Farabee
Nic Deslauriers—Lukáš Sedlák—Patrick Brown

Ivan Provorov—Tony DeAngelo
Travis Sanheim—Justin Braun
Nick Seeler—Rasmus Ristolainen

Carter Hart
(Felix Sandström)

Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand—Patrice Bergeron—David Pastrňák
Jake DeBrusk—David Krejčí—Taylor Hall
Trent Frederic—Charlie Coyle—Pavel Zacha
Nick Foligno—Tomas Nosek—AJ Greer

Matt Grzelcyk—Charlie McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm—Connor Clifton
Jakub Zboril—Brandon Carlo

Linus Ullmark
(Jeremy Swayman)

Keep an eye on:

  • Carter Hart, who has dragged these Flyers to what is technically an above-.500 record like Mariusz Pudzianowski pulling a Mack truck. Hart’s .943 save percentage at 5-on-5, his 7.55 goals saved above average, and .919 high danger save percentage are all top three in the league, according to Natural Stat Trick. Something tells me that Hart and the 2022-23 Flyers aren’t quite destined for the same level of hardware, though (certainly not six World’s Strongest Man titles, but probably not a Stanley Cup, either).
  • David Pastrňák, who is third in the NHL in points with 25 in 16 games. Not to mention that he’s historically been a Flyer-killer: He’s scored 19 goals in 25 career games against the Flyers, tied for his best output against any single opponent. The guy is pretty much always good at hockey, but he’s been really great this season and he’s even better against Philly, so you probably won’t have to look very hard to keep an eye on him.
  • Travis Konecny, who has scored points in seven straight games, including a late-third period game-tyer on Tuesday to send the game into an extra stanza. Konecny doesn’t have the same offensive talent around him that he has in previous seasons with the Flyers, but he is getting first-line minutes, top power-play unit usage, and is being asked to shoulder the offensive load, which has led to the highest shot rate of his career (10.35 per 60 minutes).
  • Hampus Lindholm, who is fifth among defenseman in points with 17, first in the league in plus-minus with +18, and is coming off a three-assist game against the Canucks. Lindholm has seemingly settled pretty well into his new home in Boston after arriving at last year’s deadline. He spent nine seasons in Anaheim and is already well on his way to a career-high in points while paired up with Connor Clifton and averaging significantly more power-play minutes than he ever has in his career (3:09 minutes per game compared to a previous career high of 2:06 from seven years ago).
  • Any new cuts or bruises on John Tortorella, who has hopefully learned his lesson about effing around with Philly-areas fillies. (I’m, of course, kidding—the actual details of that story are cleared up in this tweet from Charlie.)

Stray stats:

  • In their 55 year history, the Flyers only have a losing record to three other franchises. They are three games below .500 against Montreal and two games below against San Jose. Meanwhile, the Flyers are 76-103-21-12 (W-L-T-OTL) against the Bruins, having allowed more goals per game against Boston than any other opponent.
  • The Bruins have scored more goals per game (4) than any other team in the league and allowed less per game (2.19) than any other team. For comparison, the Flyers are 30th in goals per game (2.56) and 13th in goals allowed (3).
  • Nic Deslauriers is tied for the lead league in fights and tied for third in the league in hits. If the Flyers were looking to find someone who fights and hits, they’ve succeeded.