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Preview: Flyers host Avalanche, hoping to not die

Hold on for dear life.

Philadelphia Flyers v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

Oh no. Please, no. Not this matchup right now.

A Philadelphia Flyers team that has lost 12 of their last 13 games is about to face the reigning Stanley Cup champions for the first time this season. If we had to think of any analogy to get a guttural reaction for what this game might just end up being like, it might just be an owner of a Ferrari really egging on a person in a 1992 Miata that has one headlight working and something leaking out of it, to a drag race.

The Colorado Avalanche are not the perfect team — coming off a long Cup run and have some injuries right now — but they still boast some of the most talented hockey players on the planet and they are facing a Flyers team that is sputtering and spinning out of control on their way to the bottom of the standings.

If you like to act like a complete sicko and see what most likely will be a brutal defeat at the hands of Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon, then you should definitely tune in for this bout. Maybe it will be different, but who are we trying to kid here?

Projected Flyers lineup

Kevin Hayes — Noah Cates — Travis Konecny
Tanner Laczynski — Lukas Sedlak — Owen Tippett
Scott Laughton — Morgan Frost — Joel Farabee
Nic Deslauriers — Patrick Brown — Zack MacEwen

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

Carter Hart is going to start tonight, because who else would it be?

Head coach John Tortorella mentioned in his media availability this morning that Max Willman will be coming out and Tanner Laczynski will be taking his place. If you really care about this swap of forwards, I don’t know what to tell you or where you find joy in your life.

That is certainly a group of guys. While the reunion of Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny is certainly nice to see — and to have someone like Noah Cates given this top-line opportunity — it only slightly mutes the fact that beyond them, the talent is extremely limited to a sprinkling of good forwards among a field of players that would probably not be picked up if they hit the waiver wire right now.

On the blue line, we’ll see the same defensive pairings as we did against the New Jersey Devils. Which isn’t a complete disappointment, but it does not inspire a lot of confidence. Just imagine Rasmus Ristolainen or Tony DeAngelo trying to keep up with MacKinnon.

Projected Avalanche lineup

Jean-Luc Foudy — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Andrew Cogliano — J.T. Compher — Logan O’Connor
Charles Hudon — Alex Newhook — Alex Galchenyuk
Dryden Hunt — Jayson Megna — Anton Blidh

Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Sam Girard — Erik Johnson
Jacob MacDonald — Andreas Englund

Alexandar Georgiev is projected to be the Avalanche’s starter. He has a 5-3-0 all-time record against the Flyers, a .943 save percentage, and a 1.62 goals against average, with three earned shutouts. He seems to be good against this team!

In front of Georgiev, we’ll be seeing a slightly different Avalanche than the one that lifted the Cup. Obviously, Nazem Kadri is gone, but key wingers like Artturi Lehkonen, Valeri Nichushkin, Gabe Landeskog, and an entire defensive pairing in Josh Manson and Bowen Byram; remain out with injuries. The lack of depth certainly hurts Colorado, but it’s not like the Flyers have an advantage in that category either.

The Avalanche still have MacKinnon, Makar, Sam Girard, and Mikko Rantanen to provide the top-end offense, as dudes like Alex Newhook and J.T. Compher can be that supplemental help if needed. They’re still good no matter what!

Some big questions

Can the Flyers leave this game without an injury?

If the Flyers can’t win on the scoreboard, well maybe they can win in the health department. With players slowly returning from injury — and others still months away — the last thing the Flyers need is someone going down once again and this team having to rely on calling up someone like Isaac Ratcliffe to have a cup of coffee up here, just in case.

Maybe, just maybe, will the Flyers win?

We have seen crazier things happen this season (like the Devils being good). With players like Joel Farabee on the Flyers’ third line, some weird line matchups can happen and all he has to deal with is some dude named “Jayson Megna” and a defenseman reportedly called “Jacob MacDonald” — you farm-having ass blueliner.

Especially if Carter Hart can withstand the amount of shots he will ultimately face and Georgiev stops being the Best Goaltender On The Planet against the Flyers, then maybe this can work out.

Oh well, puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.

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