Preview: Dancing with the Stars

The Flyers are here to fill your sports needs with the Phils delayed 'til tomorrow.

Preview: Dancing with the Stars
Photo credit: Heather Barry

There are five games left in the season, the final game a week from today. The end is in sight--but we're not there yet. Besides, with Phillies opening day pushed back due to weather, what better is there to do tonight than watch the Flyers?

Tonight, the Flyers head to Dallas to face the Stars (5-4-1 in their last 10), who are in a three-way tie for first place in the Central Division with the Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild, with all teams sitting at 98 points. The Stars have had one of the best top lines in the league with Roope Hintz centering Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski. Robertson, a 2017 second round draft pick, recently broke 100 points in a season for the first time in his career with 43 goals and 58 assists. He leads Dallas in both categories, though Miro Heiskanen (third overall in the 2017 draft) is one behind with 57 assists on the season. The young talent on the Stars' roster has mostly led the way for scoring, but veterans Pavelski and Jamie Benn have contributed as well with 72 and 73 points, respectively.

In goal, 24-year old Jake Oettinger has been stellar, posting a .917 save percentage and a 2.47 GAA. With a 33-11-11 record, however, his weak point has been overtime/shootouts, and if the Flyers get "Otter" in net, pushing the game to overtime may be in their best interests.

And boy, could the Flyers use a win: they're now on a four game losing streak, and their next two games are a back-to-back against the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins--both playoff teams. The Flyers' recent loss to the Blues was mostly a slog of a game, but Morgan Frost scored again, extending his point streak to five games, with five goals and seven points in that span. They're gonna need some offense to go toe-to-toe with the Stars--and with Tony DeAngelo sitting out, they may get some with a standard 12 forward, six defensemen lineup. And hey, Carter Hart's back in net!

Puck drop is at 8:30 from Dallas.

Players to Watch

Morgan Frost

As mentioned, Frost is on a heater right now with seven points in his last five games. This late season surge is crucial for Frost, who needs to win over the skeptics and prove he can be a part of this team moving forward--namely Torts, who still seems unsure of Frost's place within the Flyers. Frost does have an advocate in interim GM Danny Briere (they do wear the same number, after all), but he still needs to show his worth and earn Tortorella's trust.

Noah Cates

In the 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues, Cates had an uncharacteristically bad turnover that led right to a Blues goal. It was a bit of a surprise, considering how smart Cates usually is with the puck. One has to wonder if the rigors of his first full season at the NHL level has worn him down, and if his play may be a little off down the stretch. Keep an eye on whether he bounces back and puts on a redemptive showing against the Stars, or if the fatigue of the end of the season has taken its toll.

Ronnie Attard

One of the nice parts about late season games is getting to see prospects play in the NHL. This will be Attard's second game on this call-up, and in his first against St. Louis he led all Flyers skaters with four shots on goal. Expect to see him get a look on the powerplay, as he's a decent puck mover with a booming shot.

Jason Robertson

Man, you gotta wonder how so many teams missed what was right in front of them during the 2017 draft. Robertson went 39th overall, and it looks like he's going to be a consistent 40+ goal scorer for the Stars for years to come. His play has been dynamite this season, and while his Hart campaign may've fallen apart due to a mid-season lull, he's still proven to be an incredible player. "Robo" is coming off a four point game against the Nashville Predators, so he's heating up just in time for the playoffs as the Stars try to lock down home ice advantage.

Projected Lineups

(via Daily Faceoff)

Philadelphia Flyers

Travis Konecny--Morgan Frost--Owen Tippett
Joel Farabee--Noah Cates--Wade Allison
JvR--Kevin Hayes--Scott Laughton
Nic Deslaurier--Tanner Lacyznski--Brendan Lemieux

Ivan Provorov--Cam York
Travis Sanheim--Rasmus Ristolainen
Nick Seeler--Ronnie Attard

Carter Hart
(Felix Sandstrom)

Dallas Stars

Jason Robertson--Roope Hintz--Joe Pavelski
Jamie Benn--Wyatt Johnston--Evgenii Dadonov
Max Domi--Tyler Seguin--Ty Dellandrea
Frederik Olofsson--Radek Faksa--Luke Glendening

Miro Heiskanen--Ryan Suter
Esa Lindell--Jani Hakanpaa
Colin Miller--Thomas Harley

Jake Oettinger
(Scott Wedgewood)

Gameday Tunes

The warm weather's getting to me, and I'm getting excited for a summer of concerts ahead (and not thinking about the Flyers as much). This is going to be my first show of the year, and I've had the album on repeat as I sip cocktails on my terrace and watch the sun go down over the Philadelphia skyline.