Preview: Flyers could play spoiler on Long Island
Let's cheer for the Flyers to win just one last time so they can kill some fun.
We are torn inside Broad Street Hockey HQ this morning. The Philadelphia Flyers are visiting the New York Islanders on Saturday night and we cannot decide if we want them to win or lose.
Flyers at Islanders
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: UBS Arena
TV: NBCSP, MSGSN
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Yes, the ultimate and overarching theme of losing as many games as possible at this point of the season, to move all of their draft picks as high as they can go, is a good one. It makes logical sense and is a good reason for us to cheer for them to lose. But, wouldn't it be just hilarious for the Islanders to drop points against the Flyers when they so desperately need to make the playoffs after committing big to this core of players?
We do understand that in turn, if the Islanders don't make the playoffs it is the Pittsburgh Penguins getting to get in the show (ew, nasty!). But we will say that, just how both teams are this season, the Penguins could get swept in the first round and cause a massive panic on the other side of this state. They are actually destined to get kicked in the gut by the Carolina Hurricanes or Boston Bruins – it is their destiny. Which in that case, we would say that we are happily eating our cake and having it too.
Give me that cake!
The Flyers are already six points below the Vancouver Canucks and are seemingly locked into 26th overall. The only way for them to screw this up even further is for the Canucks to lose three of their last four games, and for the Flyers to win at least three of the next four. There is a chance, but still unlikely.
We can at least cheer for when the Flyers score a goal for the last time this season.
Players to watch
One of the only reasons to really watch this team right now is to see how the young guys are doing. Ronnie Attard will be playing in his third consecutive game on Saturday after being recalled, to see what exactly the team has in him. He's not exactly a spring chicken having just turned 24 years old, so it might just be "make the team out of camp next year or be a career minor-leaguer."
(After publishing this post we learned Ronnie Attard will not be playing tonight, per the Inky's Olivia Reiner)
Watching Kevin Hayes at this point of the season might be less of expecting an exciting performance and watching a car crash in slow motion and both vehicles tumble down the side of a cliff, rolling and rolling and rolling.
He is reading the writing on the wall that these might be his final days in Philadelphia and is taking it to heart by potentially just shutting down and not caring. This will be fun to watch.
Sebastian Aho (the other one)
How likely is it to have two Nordic hockey players have the same name, play in the same division of the NHL, and both be pretty good at their jobs? We would be hesitant to put out a number, but we would say it is very unlikely. Well, the Isles' Sebastian Aho has turned himself into a very good defenseman this season and has steadily risen into being someone that just puts up solid numbers and will forever go unnoticed in a playoff team's top-four.
The giraffe-mimicking winger was a trade deadline acquisition by the Islanders and with the increase role compared to his depth responsibilities in Toronto, Engvall has blossomed into someone that can score five goals and nine points in his first 15 games since being traded. He's earned a spot in their top-six and you just know that if the Islanders do make the playoffs, he is going to love lasting longer than his former team.
Travis Konecny – Morgan Frost – Owen Tippett
Joel Farabee – Noah Cates – Wade Allison
Scott Laughton – Kevin Hayes – James van Riemsdyk
Nic Deslauriers – Tanner Laczynski – Brendan Lemieux
Ivan Provorov – Cam York
Travis Sanheim – Rasmus Ristolainen
Nick Seeler – Justin Braun
Carter Hart is projected to be the Flyers' starter, but with his nagging injuries, you never know if it will be him or Felix Sandstrom.
New York Islanders
Anders Lee – Bo Horvat – Simon Holmstrom
Pierre Engvall – Brock Nelson – Kyle Palmieri
Zach Parise – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Hudson Fasching
Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech – Ryan Pulock
Sebastian Aho – Scott Mayfield
Samuel Bolduc – Noah Dobson
Potential Vezina Trophy winner Ilya Sorokin is projected to start in between the pipes for the Islanders.
The Flyers are on Long Island so we had to get some local representation (RIP Trugoy).