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Preview: Flyers at Red Wings

Coming off a tough loss to the cellar dweller Blackhawks, the Flyers look to rebound against the middling Detroit Red Wings in the first of a back-to-back.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Flyers are having a tough week. Despite trouncing the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, the team’s been in a bit of disarray since: dealing with the fallout of Ivan Provorov’s actions and comments at Pride Night, and a 4-1 loss to the very obviously tanking Chicago Blackhawks. Things don’t get any easier this weekend, starting with a match against the 19-17-8 Detroit Redwings fresh off a victory over the Western Conference juggernaut Vegas Golden Knights. On Sunday, the Flyers will face the playoff-bound Winnipeg Jets at home.

But enough about that, let’s talk about the Red Wings. They had one of the most active off seasons, signing Ben Chiarot, Andrew Copp, David Perron, and Ville Husso, among others. Steve Yzerman’s infamous “Yzerplan” took it’s next step towards bringing Detroit to competitive relevance over the summer, but after a hot start the Red Wings have slowed down considerably.

They’re on the outside looking in for a wildcard playoff spot and one point ahead of the Flyers in the standings with two games in hand. Calder winner Moritz Seider has had a bit of a sophomore slump this season, showing a steeper regression than most would’ve expected. Their captain, Dylan Larkin, is in a contract year, as is winger Tyler Bertuzzi. While pushing for a playoff spot this season may not have been the goal, there are already some questions about what next season will bring.

Players to Watch

Morgan Frost

The toilet seat’s been up, folks. Frost scored an absolutely gorgeous between-the-legs goal against the Ducks on Tuesday, and scored the lone Flyers goal against the Blackhawks. There are still a lot of questions surrounding his future with the team and where he’ll settle in the lineup, but the guy obviously has talent and it’s great to see him capitalize on his puck skills.

Rasmus Ristolainen

Risto has points in his last two games, including a backhanded goal on the penalty power kill against the ducks. Through the first half of the season, his defensive numbers have trended up—so much so that one might call him one of Tortorella’s success stories. All it cost was his offense, but maybe that’s coming around now too.

Owen Tippet

The game against the Blackhawks was a weird one for Tippett. He started the game in his normal position on the top line with Frost and James van Riemsdyk, but in the third period was dropped to the fourth line with Patrick Brown and Nic Deslauriers before being bumped up to the third line with Kevin Hayes and Scott Laughton—which would make him a fitting candidate for the next “toilet seat” analogy. It’s possible the current lines have gotten stale and Torts will shuffle them up ahead of the Red Wings game, and given Tippett’s movement on Thursday it stands to reason he could be the first one knocked down the lineup.

Puck drop is at 7 p.m. from Little Caesars arena. Anyone else feeling pizza for dinner?