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Preview: Flyers are right back at it as Stars shoot into town

The Philadelphia Flyers will host the Dallas Stars in the second of back-to-back afternoon games at the Wells Fargo Center. After yesterday’s loss to Claude Giroux and the Ottawa Senators, the Flyers have dropped two in a row, dropping their record to 7-5-2, above .500 only by NHL standards.

At 8-5-1, the Stars come into the game at first place in the Central Division, although they only have one more point than the fifth-place Flyers. Like the Flyers, they’re coming into Philadelphia off two straight losses and are looking to keep it that way.

With Carter Hart taking the loss yesterday, it’ll be Felix Sandström getting the nod from John Tortorella today and facing off against Jake Oettinger in the Dallas net.

Oettinger has been very solid in net for the Stars in a tandem with Scott Wedgewood this year. The 24-year-old is 5-2 with a .931 save percentage and leads the NHL in goals against average.

Despite the similar records up to this point, the Stars are expected to have a stronger season, with a better lineup on paper and a rest advantage over the Flyers coming into this matchup. Their top line of Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz, and Joe Pavelski are shooting the lights out this year—they might be the best line in the NHL right now. Not to mention that the Flyers best player will (hopefully) not be on the ice today.

Projected Flyers lineup

With no official news on Wade Allison’s injury at this point, it’s unclear how exactly the lines will shake out for the Flyers:

Owen Tippett—Kevin Hayes—Travis Konecny
Joel Farabee—Scott Laughton—Wade Allison/Kieffer Bellows?
Lukáš Sedlák—Noah Cates—Zack MacEwen
Nic Deslauriers—Morgan Frost—Tanner Laczynski

Ivan Provorov—Tony DeAngelo
Travis Sanheim—Justin Braun
Nick Seeler—Rasmus Ristolainen

Felix Sandström
(Carter Hart)

Projected Stars lineup

Jason Robertson—Joe Pavelski—Roope Hintz
Mason Marchment—Tyler Seguin—Matej Blumel
Ty Dellandrea—Jamie Benn—Wyatt Johnston
Joel Kiviranta—Luke Glendening—Radek Faksa

Miro Heiskanen—Colin Miller
Ryan Suter—Nils Lundkvist
Esa Lindell—Jani Hakanpää

Jake Oettinger
(Scott Wedgewood)

Keep an eye on:

  • Travis Konecny, who has points in four straight games and is leading the team with 16 so far this season. He led the team in scoring last season despite what was essentially a career-low pace, but he’s on track to do so again in this young 2022-23 campaign.
  • Jason Robertson, who is leading Dallas in points, with 21 in 14 games. The 23-year-old broke out last year—even receiving some Hart Trophy votes—and has ridden that success into 2022-23.
  • Kieffer Bellows, who is expected to be in the lineup in place of Wade Allison, who left yesterday’s game after laying a hit on Jacob Bernard-Docker. Claimed off waivers two weeks ago, Bellows has played three games as a Flyer so far and is yet to reach the score sheet.
  • Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, who are playing more of a secondary-scoring role for the Stars right now. With Robertson and the Stars top line clicking so well right now, these two thirty-something superstars are being relied on less than in the past, meaning that their point totals—10 and 13, respectively—are
  • Gloves on the ice, because the Flyers are tied for the league lead with 11 fights so far this season. And it’s not just the usual suspects like Seeler, Deslauriers, and MacEwen ringing bells, either, as we’ve also had Kevin Hayes’ first career fight, Justin Braun’s first in four seasons, and a Travis Konecny scrap. /

Stray stats:

  • The Flyers are 76-47-32-1 (W-L-T-OTL) against the Stars all time and have won 48 of the 78 games the two teams have played in Philadelphia.
  • Not common opponents, the Flyers haven’t beat the Stars since January 10, 2019, when they won 2-1 thanks to goals from Travis Konecny and James van Riemsdyk.
  • Up until three games ago, the Flyers had given up more shot attempts than they’d taken in every game this season. But having recorded more than the Blues, the Blue Jackets, and the Senators, they’re on a bit of a streak in that category. Of course, they lost two of those games by three goals.
  • The Stars have been sniping so far this season—they’re the only team with a shooting percentage above 10% and they’ve got six players above 15%. Meanwhile, the Flyers are in the bottom five in the league in shots against per 60 minutes, with 34.31. Not exactly a recipe you’d like to be putting together with your back-up in net, but Sandström has stood up fairly well to high shot numbers at this point in his nine-game career./