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Flyers meet Wild for East vs. West tilt in the State of Hockey

The Flyers head north to take on one of the Central Division’s best and hottest teams.

Minnesota Wild v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers are headed to play the Minnesota Wild in the last game of their five-game road trip. They are 1-3-0 on the current road trip and will be playing a team that is on a hot streak, especially on home ice.

The Wild have been one of the NHL’s best teams in the 2021-22 season. They hit a pothole for a short period while their goaltending was going through somewhat of an identity crisis, but that seems to be resolved. With the acquisition of Marc-Andre Fleury, who is projected to be starting tonight barring any late problems, and Cam Talbot back into solid starter form (.931 save percentage over his last seven games), including an NHL first star of the week, the Wild have appeared to get back on track. They are 8-1-1 over their previous 10 games with a six-game winning streak and a 40-20-4 season record. Their most recent victory came over the Colorado Avalanche, the best team in the NHL (at least by standings points).

Their leading point-scorer over the last five games and the season is the Russian superstar forward Kirill Kaprizov. He has six points over the previous five games and an impressive 81 points overall. He started the season with zero goals in his first eight games, and he has still managed to score 36 goals so far, with plenty more coming if the Wild’s second-leading scorer—Mats Zuccarello—keeps feeding him the puck. He holds the team lead in assists with 48, three ahead of Kaprizov, and has 67 points in 56 games.

The overtime hero against the Avalanche on the power play was Kevin Fiala. After an infuriating first half of the season (20 points in his first 30 games but only six goals), Fiala has found his mojo playing with Frederick Gaudreau (a former player for the Nashville Predators like Fiala) and Matt Boldy, a young stud that likely would be mentioned in Calder conversations if not for a preseason injury. Fiala is up to 59 points in 64 games, and he’s always a threat to score when he’s on the ice.

As for the Flyers, they put up a valiant effort against the Predators on Sunday, but it was to no avail. The 5-4 loss pushed them to 3-6-1 over their last 10 games and 21-34-11 on the season. It was unfortunate that Predators forward Tanner Jeannot scored the game-winning goal with just over a minute left in regulation. Despite the minimal shots on goal, the Flyers almost pushed it to overtime. Granted, earning loser points in overtime isn’t good for #TankSZN, but three-on-three overtime is always fun.

On the scoring side for the Flyers, Kevin Hayes leads the pack over the last five games with five assists and seven points, while Joel Farabee leads in goals with three. On the season, the point-scoring leader is Cam Atkinson with 50 points. He had an assist in the loss to Nashville. Following him up is Travis Konecny, with 43 points in 63 games.

Martin Jones was the goaltender in the net in Nashville, and despite the loss, he was able to pick his save percentage back up to the .900’s, and he’ll be leaned upon again tonight. Carter Hart is dealing with a nagging injury—nothing serious, he should be back for this weekend, but he’s out tonight—and Felix Sandstrom is on his way to join the team on an emergency recall to back up. Always an adventure!

And, fresh from an exit from the NCAA Tournament and with a brand new ELC signed, Noah Cates will make his NHL debut tonight, with the whole of his UMD team in attendance to watch.

The first game of the season series between these two teams ended in a 5-4 Flyers loss. The Wild scored two goals in 25 seconds to take the lead in the game, with Fiala’s line scoring four points. The Flyers will hope to rectify that gut-wrenching defeat tonight.

Projected Lineup

Forwards

James van Riemsdyk - Joel Farabee - Cam Atkinson

Oskar Lindblom - Kevin Hayes - Travis Konecny

Noah Cates - Morgan Frost - Owen Tippett

Hayden Hodgson - Patrick Brown - Zack MacEwen

Defense

Ivan Provorov - Cam York

Travis Sanheim - Rasmus Ristolainen

Keith Yandle - Nick Seeler

Goalies

Martin Jones

(Felix Sandstrom)

That’s all from me, everybody! Go Flyers!