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Preview: F-F-F-Flyers and the Jets

The Flyers welcome the Winnipeg Jets to the Farg in the second half of a back-to-back.

Philadelphia Flyers v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

The Flyers welcome the Winnipeg Jets for the first time this season, coming off a 2-1 road win against the Detroit Red Wings—which you surely watched as there were no other major Philadelphia sporting events occurring at the same time.

The Jets are having a heck of a season: under new coach Rick Bowness they’ve gone 30-16-1 and are safely in a playoff spot. This is the second half of a back-to-back for the Jets as well, coming off a 5-1 blowout against the Ottawa Senators. Standout players include defenseman Josh Morrissey, who’s had a bounce back year of epic proportions and is a Norris candidate (hence the Norrissey jokes you’ve seen around), and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who’s having an incredible season with a .924 save percentage and 2.39 GAA.

Both teams may show some signs of exhaustion, but the Flyers played a heavy, physical, chippy game against Detroit last night—and given their already tight schedule, that wear and tear may start to show. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.

Players to Watch

Cam York

York was buzzing last night, and has been since rejoining the big club; he looks the part of a top-4 defenseman. However, it occurred to me (humble laid off sentient blog writer): York has been doing all of this on his off side. He’s a left-handed defenseman playing the right side on the top pair. That’s not an easy position to fill—especially when, last year, York expressed that he does not like playing his off side. By season’s end, it’d be great to see York play the left side and really show what he’s capable of.

Noah Cates

A start pupil, Cates continues to impress defensively and perform adequately in a position that he’s not used to. Last night it resulted in a goal, and it’s great to see that offense coming around for him. Also noticeable against the Red Wings? Cates didn’t shy away from getting involved in the scrums and standing up for his teammates, which feels kind of new for him. Maybe he usually wasn’t on the ice for such interactions in previous games, but his involvement last night demonstrates a growing confidence.

Felix Sandström

Since Carter Hart had the start last night against Detroit, it stands to reason that Sandström will start against the Jets. This will be his first game back with the big club after a conditioning stint with the Phantoms, and his return to the Flyers bench has resulted into Sam Ersson being sent back down. Without a doubt, Ersson has shown himself to be the better goaltender and more deserving of the backup job, so tonight is a real opportunity for Sandström to show that he deserves to stick with the big club.