It’s unbelievable — the Philadelphia Flyers have 19 games remaining this season. Whether you are just simply checking them off as the days go by, carving through the hockey fandom to-do list, or just washing away any sense of this team in your head until we can think about stuff like the 2022 NHL Draft or prospects, there might at least be something to watch in their upcoming game against the St. Louis Blues.
If we can do one thing in this single game preview, it will be to make you, anticipate Thursday night’s game with actual enthusiasm.
Since Claude Giroux’s last game as a Flyer (for now) was played, Philadelphia has gone a whopping 1-2-0 and have scored just six goals through those three contests. Not the most eye-popping numbers, and it is objectively bad, but there have been little moments that rationalize some hope that this team can at least not be treading in the same water as the Arizona Coyotes next season.
In the last two games, Kevin Hayes has four points. Whether this is a rejuvenation of the Hayes that we have come to know as a secondary scoring threat beyond the top line, or just some post-injury bender he’s going on because he finally gets to touch ice again; we don’t know. But it is certainly at least one reason to stay engaged with this team and wonder that if health bends in their favor ever so slightly, that this roster isn’t half-bad. If you need any more reasons, well, I just feel that a nicely organized list will help you get excited about the 19th-last game of the Flyers miserable season.
- Zack MacEwen is punching guys, like, a lot. Got into two fights with Detroit Red Wings bruiser Givani Smith in the same game earlier in the week.
- Joel Farabee and Travis Konecny have found some chemistry with Kevin Hayes, producing enough points to make us ponder if this is a long-term line.
- Cam York is playing almost half the damn game as the Flyers try to find a ginger version of Duncan Keith. Honestly, York has looked very good the past few weeks and I hope the increase in minutes is the coaching staff actually rewarding a player that has had to endure so much jostling around between the minors and the NHL this season.
- A player that they just signed to an NHL contract, Hayden Hodgson, is going to be playing tonight. So...there’s that? He has been one of the few bright spots in AHL Lehigh Valley this season and after spending the last five years playing for six different ECHL teams, two AHL teams, and even a trip overseas to play in the Slovakian league, he finally gets to make his NHL debut at the age of 26. A real feel-good journeyman story.
- It’s another game of Owen Tippett.
- If all else fails, we can try to enjoy watching a good team play hockey in the Blues. Hey, they have almost-Flyer Vlad Tarasenko on their team; and other guys like Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas, Pavel Buchnevich...and other people.
While we are essentially acting like that friend trying to get you into professional wrestling, or watching skate videos, or into a certain band — just really enthusiastically explaining how important this one event is — you, reader, can take it or leave it. We can peripherally view this team for the remainder of the season, be excited when a young player does something cool, and then largely tune out because we would rather not watch Keith Yandle play hockey right now.
There are at least options, but if you’re reading this, you are probably going to be watching the game.
Projected Flyers lines:
James van Riemsdyk—Joel Farabee—Cam Atkinson
Oskar Lindblom—Kevin Hayes—Travis Konecny
Max Willman—Morgan Frost—Owen Tippett
Hayden Hodgson—Patrick Brown—Zack MacEwen
Ivan Provorov—Cam York
Travis Sanheim—Rasmus Ristolainen
Keith Yandle—Nate Seeler
Carter Hart probably should be starting in this game, but you never know.
Projected Blues lines:
Brandon Saad—Ryan O’Reilly—David Perron
Jordan Kyrou—Brayden Schenn—Pavel Buchnevich
Nathan Walker—Ivan Barbashev—Alexei Torpchenko
Mackenzie MacEachern—Logan Brown—Niko Mikkola
Nick Leddy—Colton Parayko
Torey Krug—Justin Faulk
Marco Scandella—Robert Bortuzzo
A struggling Jordan Binnington (lol) is projected to be the Blues’ starter tonight.
Puck drop is at 8:00 p.m., so see you then.