We’re back at it again, folks! Last time out, the Flyers were in the midst of losing to the Flames to stretch their losing streak to seven games, and struggling to create much offensively with their greatly depleted lineup. The Flyers are trying desperately to get themselves back on track, and tonight against the Capitals—who are struggling a bit themselves—is their next chance to do it. It’s a battle at the bottom of the standings—the loser of tonight’s game will claim possession of that second to last in the Metro spot—so we’re likely in for a weird one.
On the Capitals’ side, things are also not going great. On top of being right alongside the Flyers in the division standings, struggling on the results side, they’re also one of the few teams in the league who could really give the Flyers a run for their money as far as bad injury luck goes. The Capitals themselves are without big names like Tom Wilson, Carl Hagelin, Nicklas Backstrom, TJ Oshie (maybe, he might be back tonight), and Dmitry Orlov. But hey, to fill their lineup back in a bit, they did pick up our old pal Nicolas Aube-Kubel on waivers, so we should be seeing him again. That’s neat, right?
This should be ... something.
Players to watch
The broader answer to “who are we keeping an eye on in this game?” is the whole of the Flyers’ top line, but we’re honing in on Frost for a bit here. As of Monday, he’s getting a big opportunity, playing alongside Joel Farabee and Owen Tippett on the top line, and he’s gotten off to just an okay start. Farabee and Tippett both popped in the game against the Flames, but Frost had a quieter showing. Not a poor showing necessarily, but just a quieter one. That said, we can't help but feel like there’s another gear left for him to find, and we’re eager to see if tonight is when he starts to find his footing a bit more.
Speaking of players who really popped in Monday’s game, we’ve got Tanner Laczynski! In his first game back up with the Flyers, he made the most of a limited role and got himself his first NHL goal, really taking his opportunity and running with it. Now, we know about players getting that burst of call-up adrenaline and then falling off a bit after that begins to wear off, so we’ll be keeping an eye out to see if Laczynski falls victim to that, or if he starts to settle in to his new role with the team. Stay tuned!
Two big questions
Will we see any more cohesion?
We’ve seen a whole bunch of jumbling with the forward lines recently with the injuries continuing to pile up, there hasn’t been a ton of continuity, and unsurprisingly, the Flyers looked a bit out of sorts on Monday. We know they’re going to struggle to make plays because of the more dynamic skill players missing from the mix, but all of the movement hasn’t helped things much, we imagine.
That said, while excuses can be made, they’re not something we want to get too hung up on. Improvements can be made, reasonably, and if the Flyers want to break this losing streak, they’re going to have to settle in and take a step forward. We’re not expecting them to look like a whole new team out there, but a small step forward is still something.
Can the penalty kill keep rolling?
We didn’t get a long look at the penalty kill on Monday—and frankly, we’re grateful for that—but the look we did get was pretty solid. They were able to limit the chances the Flames got, and had a couple of nice moments of getting the puck out of their own zone and down the ice, tied up in the Flames’ end along the boards. It wasn’t flashy, but it was effective. And while the Flyers have struggled in a lot of areas with the number of players they’re missing, this is one where they were able to hold up well. Now, will that continue tonight? We certainly will see.
Puck drops at 7:30 tonight (it’s a late one, folks!) and you can check out the Flyers’ projected lineup below.