Hoo boy, this oughta be a game. The Flyers are on a bit of a hot streak right now, but they’re gonna have their work cut out for ‘em this afternoon at TD Garden.
The Boston Bruins are the best team in hockey and on track to set a bunch of records this season, and they’re fresh off a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Their record is 33-5-4, and they only just had their first regulation home loss of the season to the Seattle Kraken last week. A lot of this success could be attributed to the “last chance” mentality: Patrice Bergeron is on a one-year contract and nearing retirement age, David Krejči returned to the NHL for this season, and David Pastrňák is in the last year of his contract. To up the ante, Boston let go of coach Bruce Cassidy over the off season and brought in Jim Montgomery, and that coaching change has been paying dividends for the Bruins (and the Vegas Golden Knights, as Cassidy’s coached that team to the top spot in the Pacific Division).
The Flyers, meanwhile, have shown since the Christmas break that the team is too good to tank. Travis Konecny had the longest active NHL point streak, including a recent hat trick against the Washington Capitals, Carter Hart and Sam Ersson have proven to be very good goaltenders, and Joel Farabee and Wade Allison seem to finally be finding their game—Noah Cates, too, has begun generating some offense. They’re 8-2-0 in their last ten, putting them at hockey .500 with an 18-18-7 record overall—which sucks if you’re team tank, but fantastic if you’re team “wins are fun.”
Players to Watch
TK failed to get on the board in his last game against the Capitals, which means the point streak ended at ten games. That’s a hell of a run for Konecny, and the first time a Flyer’s had a streak that long since Claude Giroux in 2018. It’s not like TK had a bad game against the Caps, either, and one thing he’s excelled at this season is taking adversity in stride and moving on. Expect to see him come out flying against the Bruins.
The Beezer (or Gumby, as the youths are calling him), is really hitting his stride. He has seven points in his last seven games and is more noticeable on the ice than he has been all season. The Flyers see Farabee as an important piece, and if his production continues to trend up for the back half of the season, the Flyers were right to think they have a legitimate top-sixer on their hands.
Sheesh, Owen Tippett. Can we get some more goals like that, please? In the second game of the home-and-home with the Caps, Tippett had a beautiful assist to JVR, as well. The kid can play, and his production has come around for him this season; his success has made the Giroux trade to the Panthers last year look like more of a win than it did at the time.
With rumors swirling about a possible Provorov trade—either by the deadline or in the off season—now’s the time for him to show what kind of player he can be. Unfortunately, the past few games have not raised his value. In the first game against the Caps, Provorov had a horrendous turnover in his own zone that led to a Capitals goal; it looked like a pass directly to the stick of the pressing Caps. There was nothing so egregious in the second game, but he didn’t pop, either, and that’s not going to get the attention of other teams. Maybe he can start to turn it around against the Bruins.
It’s Martin Luther King Day, so we’ve got an early game today. Puck drops at 1 p.m. from TD Garden, and the game will be on NBC Sports Philadelphia