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Flyers take on Canadiens in second of back-to back

Montreal has been trending up since a very slow start while Philadelphia has crashed down to the basement.

Philadelphia Flyers v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens are on a collision course tonight in a battle of pure ineptitude.

Combined the teams have registered just 84 points, or three less than overall NHL points leaders in the Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche. The Canadiens’ fall from grace — they made the Stanley Cup final last season — has been quite the feat despite the losses of all-world goaltender Carey Price and stalwart defender Shea Weber, while the Flyers have endured their share of crippling injuries as well with Sean Couturier missing essentially half the season and separate maladies to Kevin Hayes, Ryan Ellis, and Joel Farabee hydroplaning the Orange and Black’s season.

As for who will be on the ice when this one kicks off from Bell Centre in Montreal, Claude Giroux is still a Flyer ahead of the NHL trade deadline on March 21st as he closes in on 1,000 games played. In No. 999 for Giroux, he’ll try and build upon the success he’s enjoyed in his career against the Canadiens with 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 37 games.

Nothing was doing for Giroux or the Flyers in a 3-1 loss to the Hurricanes yesterday afternoon where the only offense came off a fluky rebound courtesy of Canes netminder Frederik Andersen. A late tip-in from Jordan Martinook broke the Flyers’ spirits with less than four minutes in regulation to send the club to back-to-back losses following a bizarre two-game winning streak with wins over the Chicago Blackhawks and Vegas Golden Knights.

Carter Hart will return to the pipes following a valiant effort in a losing cause from Martin Jones — hello, goaltender-needy teams — in the loss to the Canes. Hart was under siege last time out against the Florida Panthers, but has posted a .908 save percentage in the last two months despite a truly dreadful team in front of him as the shot attempts have ramped up on the Flyers’ net of late.

Overall the Flyers are 5-18-4 in 2022 and have been outscored by 39 goals as injuries have finally set in to bring a lost season into perspective that will include surely a prime position in the NHL draft lottery following an offseason in which optimism reigned supreme.

Montreal also stinks, but has been respectable since the calendar flipped to 2022 with an 8-13-4 record after a 7-22-4 run to open the 2021 portion of their slate. Scoring and saves have been hard for the Canadiens to come by with Nick Suzuki providing 41 points and the next closest scorer being Artturi Lehkonen with just 28 in 55 games. They’ve used five goaltenders — the Flyers’ eight from 2018-19 would like a word — to a team save percentage comfortably under .900.

Both teams have bad special teams with both power play and penalty kills ranking 25th or lower in each, and 5-on-5 play has seen both teams beaten badly up and down the ice.

This is going to be a good one, folks — buckle up.

Projected Flyers lines:

Claude Giroux—Derick Brassard—Cam Atkinson
Oskar Lindblom—Morgan Frost—Travis Konecny
Joel Farabee—Kevin Hayes—James van Riemsdyk
Gerry Mayhew—Patrick Brown—Zack MacEwen

Ivan Provorov—Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim—Rasmus Ristolainen
(Lol) Yandle—Cam York

Carter Hart
(Martin Jones)

Loose pucks

Hart carries a .923 save percentage in five career games against Montreal with a .936 in the playoffs…people don’t forget…Claude Giroux is still looking for point No. 900 and could do so in game No. 999…only Bobby Clarke (1,210) has more in franchise history…Montreal is 32nd in the NHL in both goals for and goals against…if the NHL draft lottery was held today…Flyers 8.5% chance at No. 1 overall…Canadiens 16.6%…