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Flyers get a divisional rivalry game for Black Friday

Losing streak ends here? Please?

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Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Happy Black Friday, folks! For all of our American readers, we hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. And for our readers in the rest of the world, well, we hope you had a nice Thursday and had a good meal too? Anyway, we’re back, and the Flyers are on tonight.

The Flyers hit the little holiday day off on a real low note, as they saw a third period 2-1 lead over the Capitals slip away from them, and turn into a 3-2 loss in overtime. And for those keeping track at home, that saw their losing streak reach eight games.

(If we’re going by the NHL’s definition, them getting to overtime technically ended the losing streak, as they got a standings point out of it still, and now they’re just on a winless streak, but who are we kidding, a losing streak’s a losing streak, no matter how you slice it. But we digress).

The Penguins, on the flip side, are much healthier, sit four points ahead of the Flyers in the standings, and are cruising along nicely on a four game winning streak.

Players to watch

Kieffer Bellows

Here’s a fun fact for you: in just 9:24 of 5-on-5 ice time on Wednesday, Bellows managed to put up a team-leading eight shot attempts and four scoring chances. Now, we did not see any of those translate into goals, and we’re still waiting for his offensive game to break open with the Flyers, but Wednesday felt like a step towards that, and it looked like his confidence was growing. We’ll see if he’s able to build on that momentum in this game, but the flashes that he brought in his last showing were certainly intriguing.

Carter Hart

We haven’t gotten confirmation on the starting goalie just yet, but given how heavily he’s been leaned on up until this point, now that he’s gotten one (1) night off, it stands to reason that they’re going to go right back to Carter Hart for this game. And if this is the case, the biggest question is whether that one night off made a marked difference for him. He had been starting to look a bit fatigued, and his game losing a bit of sharpness as a result, so the small break did seem to come at a good time. But, that said, we’ll still be keep an eye out to see both how much rest he seems to need to get back to old form, and how his workload is managed, in turn.

Two big questions

Does the losing streak end here?

This really is the biggest of the questions. As we said, the Flyers are already at eight losses in a row, and things really aren’t getting any easy for them on the schedule front. Tonight, they’re facing a Penguins team with much more dynamic talent still in their lineup, and that’s a tough matchup on paper. Then tomorrow, they’re right back at, closing out the back to back against the second in the division Islanders.

(After that, if we want to feel even worse, they have another game against the Islanders, then it’s the Lightning, the Devils, then the Avalanche to kick off the month of December).

This is all to say that, while we know hockey is a weird sport and a big win could happen at any time, the fact remains that this could be a particularly tough stretch for the Flyers, and it’s easy to imagine this streak continuing on and really spiraling. With the lineup they’re working with at the moment, they’ll need both a complete effort and a bit of luck in things breaking their way in order to break the streak. Maybe tonight’s the night that happens? Fingers crossed.

Will things be any tidier this time around?

We mentioned that the Flyers are going to need a pretty complete effort to break this losing streak, and a big part of that is just cleaning up some of their details, sticking to their coverages and not making any big catastrophic mistakes. Which they, well, they sure have been doing here. Here was Tortorella after Wednesday’s overtime loss:

Now, they didn’t have any proper practice time between then and now to go over anything major, but to reiterate, the mistakes that they’re making are on routine plays that they should be executing on. It shouldn’t take much to drive that point home. The hope is that even just a small reminder will be enough for the message to start sinking in, but truly, we’ll see about that. But not messing up what should be the easy things would be a big step towards the Flyers getting things back on track.

Puck drops at 5:30 tonight, and you can check out the Flyers’ projected lineup below.

Forwards

Farabee-Frost-Tippett

N. Cates-Hayes-MacEwen

J. Cates-Brown-Laczynski

Deslauriers-Sedlák-Bellows

Defense

Provorov-DeAngelo

Sanheim-Braun

Seeler-Ristolainen

Goalies

Hart

(Sandstrom)