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Flyers close out 2022 with matinee in LA

A Flyers After Dark reprieve.

Los Angeles Kings v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Happy almost New Year, folks! The Flyers are closing out 2022 with a nice little afternoon game out in Los Angeles (Flyers After Dark will resume on Monday), and they’re hoping to send the one year off on a high note. Last we saw them, of course, they were putting up a 4-3 overtime win over the Sharks, but today’s task will be a more difficult one–the Sharks are hanging out right around the Flyers at the bottom of the league standings, while the Kings are up at seventh in the whole league. So uh, we’ll see how this goes.

Players to watch

Travis Konecny

If there was one player who definitely showed up on Thursday against the Sharks, it was Konecy. He picked up the Flyers’ first goal of the game, as well as the ultimate game tying goal, when it looked like the Flyers were going to sort of limp to a regulation loss, which goes without saying, was a real game changer. With all of the holes in their lineup at the moment. Konecny has been asked to step up, and by and large he has delivered on that ask. But today will be an even more difficult one for the team, and we’ll see how much momentum he can carry into this one.

Cam York

Speaking of players who have been asked to step up, York’s run of solid play since his call up has earned him an elevation to the top pair with Ivan Provorov, and a whole lot of expectations to go with it. Their first game together in San Jose was good but not great, but the team is hoping that they can tap into some of that same magic that we saw from them at the end of last season when they were thrown together. We didn’t quite expect things to completely click for them immediately, but it would be nice to see them take a step forward towards really settling in together in this one. It isn’t going to be easy, but the team sure needs it.

Samuel Ersson

As we speak, we’re still waiting for confirmation on this one, but with Carter Hart still on IR and Ersson being the first goalie off the ice at practice yesterday, initial signs suggest that he’ll be the one to start tonight. And this too would feel like a deserved nod—after a difficult debut in Carolina before the break, Ersson looked much more solid in Thursday’s game, and really locked things down, and even bailed out his teammates a couple of times with some huge, dare we say flashy saves. Things are settling down for him a bit already at this level, it seems, and that’s pretty exciting to see. And if he does get the start again tonight, that’s a great chance to keep the ball rolling and continue to gain some experience and prove himself at this next level. But we’ll see what happens.

Two big questions

Can they keep the momentum rolling?

We’ve mentioned it a couple of times already, momentum, and that’s going to be a big thing for the Flyers in this one. They did some good work on Thursday to come back from a deficit and come out of this one with the full two points, but this is a more difficult opponent that they’re facing, a more difficult task ahead of them. And we’ve seen the Flyers struggle to capitalize on momentum swings in their favor this season, but here’s another chance for them to break out of that cycle, those bad habits. Is today finally the time when the lessons sink in and they’re finally able to do something with the momentum they’re carrying? Well, we’ll see. Fingers crossed?

Will the penalty kill step up?

Thursday was, all in all, not a banner showing for the Flyers’ penalty kill. They went 2/3 on the evening, but still gave up 10 shot attempts and seven shots on goal in about five and a half minutes of play. By the eye, too, it was not very pretty—the Flyers at times looked quite passive in getting after the puck carrier, and as a result, were hemmed deep in their own end, and often were caught scrambling around, hoping for the best, and letting Ersson try to bail them out.

Today, they’ll be facing off against a slightly more productive power play (the Kings are sitting at 13th in the league standings with a 23.4 PP%, and the Sharks are at 14th with 23.1 PP%), and they’ll be looking to, well, not exactly repeat Thursday’s showing. We’re not expecting perfection here (though wouldn’t that be nice!), but a little less scrambling, a little more pressure, and fewer shots bled would be a good start.

Puck drops at 4:00 this afternoon, and then we’ve got the whole rest of the evening for our New Years activities of choice. How fun!

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