In the last four games, the Philadelphia Flyers have picked up only one point towards the overall NHL standings. As the Flyers approach the opening faceoff against the Las Vegas Golden Knights at home tonight, Philadelphia is hoping to correct their four-game skid. The Golden Knights most recently shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins, a more than formidable opponent, and won three of their last four games. Once again, the Flyers are the underdog.
Though he has played in two games this season, Brian Elliott has only notched one start against the Calgary Flames resulting in a 3-1 loss. The other game that Elliott has played this season was against the Edmonton Oilers where he relieved Carter Hart. The Flyers were already in a hole too big to regroup in that contest, losing to the Oilers, 6-3. Marc-Andre Fleury has been the workhorse goaltender this season for the Las Vegas Golden Knights, securing six wins in his eight starts, including four wins in the last five games.
Throughout the short history of the Philadelphia Flyers against the Las Vegas Golden Knights, the series is split at 2-2. The Flyers have never won in Las Vegas while the Golden Knights have never won in Philadelphia. If history can repeat itself, Philadelphia could be the favorite in tonight’s contest. However, I’m one to base success off of overall team performance and not strictly off of home-ice advantage. Las Vegas has kept each game close at the Wells Fargo Center over their history, losing by only a goal in each game.
Heading into their fifth-ever meeting, the Philadelphia Flyers have a clean bill of health with no injuries to report. That has been a silver lining for this franchise this season. Defenseman Nate Schmidt did not play for the Las Vegas Golden Knights against the Pittsburgh Penguins, so signs point to him being out. He had a lower-body injury on October 2nd and has been listed as week-to-week. Golden Knight’s right winger Alex Tuch sustained an upper-body injury on September 30th. He also didn’t play against the Penguins and is listed as week-to-week.
Las Vegas Golden Knights – Skaters
The leading scorer on the Las Vegas Golden Knights is Mark Stone. He leads the team with twelve points, consisting of six goals and six assists. Stone has been equally effective on the powerplay as he has been even-strength in scoring goals. He is even more dangerous, I would argue, passing the puck. He’s proven to help with scoring while even-strength, on the powerplay, and even while shorthanded in the assist department. Stone is scoring on 20.7% of the shots he takes.
The current best defenseman on the Las Vegas Golden Knights is Deryk Engelland. With a +/- of 4, he has also tallied two assists. Like Mark Stone, one of Engelland’s assists was while shorthanded. The other is during even-strength hockey. Defensively, he is lively with seventeen blocked shots and fifteen hits. Brayden McNabb would be the next defenseman to rival the defensive output Engelland has shown.
Las Vegas Golden Knights – Goaltending
This is all about Marc-Andre Fleury. He has played in every game this season and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are thriving with him. However, the Philadelphia Flyers have had Fleury’s number going back to his days as a Pittsburgh Penguin. He’s allowed nineteen goals in eight starts, showing a 93.4% save percentage and yielding a 2.18 goal against average. On the other hand, Malcolm Subban started one game this season and allowed two goals. He didn’t finish that game.
Philadelphia Flyers – Skaters
It’s no surprise, the leading scorer of the Philadelphia Flyers is still Travis Konecny. He has eight points on the season featuring three goals and five assists. All of his goals have been during even-strength hockey while three of his assists have come on the powerplay. Nothing has registered on the shorthanded side of the special teams for Konecny. While he is a playmaker, all of the Flyers fans have been asking for more players to be more like Konecny and convert opportunities. He’s scored on 30% of the shots he has taken this season.
Robert Hagg is the best defenseman the Philadelphia Flyers have on their lineup and it’s not close. He has a +/- of 2 this season and tallied an assist. Hagg has fifteen blocked shots and sixteen hits tallied. The next closest player is Matt Niskanen, with five apiece for both statistics. The Flyers are not physical on defense this season at an alarming rate in comparison to the opponents they’ve played.
Philadelphia Flyers – Goaltending
Tonight, the starting goaltender is Brian Elliott. I touched briefly on the two games he played this season earlier on and the one start that he had. Elliott has only surrendered four goals this season in two games, maintaining a 91.1% save percentage and a 2.97 goal against average. One could argue that when the hourglass turned at the start of the regular season, Elliott has played as well as Carter Hart has or better in his opportunities.
It’s a more than welcome addition to see Joel Farabee get his first crack at NHL hockey in the regular season with the Philadelphia Flyers. In addition to the highly anticipated prospect, also suiting up in a Flyers sweater tonight is Mikhail (Misha) Vorobyev who has been given a look at the NHL level in the past. I think that Alain Vigneault making these changes early this season when times haven’t been the smoothest could show a much-needed spark. Farabee earned high praise from me in the preseason alongside Vorobyev because they both have high motors on offense; however, you would be justified in feeling that Vorobyev could be running out of shots at this level with the Flyers. They are going to be facing a well prepared Las Vegas Golden Knights team, so this will be a “welcome to the NHL” kind of evening.
The Philadelphia Flyers do have the advantage in the faceoff winning percentage as a team against the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Six players for the Flyers are above 50% when squaring off at the faceoff dot. Those players are Travis Konecny, Scott Laughton, Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, James van Riemsdyk, and Oskar Lindblom. Nine players for the Golden Knights are above 50% when taking the faceoff. Those players are William Karlsson, Tomas Nosek, William Carrier, Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault, Cody Eakin, Max Pacioretty, Brandon Pirri, and Paul Stastny. Overall, Philadelphia is winning faceoffs 57.6% to Las Vegas’ 49.1% of the time.
I’m taking the Las Vegas Golden Knights to get their first win at the Wells Fargo Center, 4-2. This can be a tighter game than most people will give it credit for. It could be tighter than 4-2 even. However, the Philadelphia Flyers rank dead last in the league in scoring while the Golden Knights are sixth in the league in that category. That my determining factor. Unless the Flyers are in rare form with their defense and start playing bodies on the ice, this four-game skid could turn into a five-game skid.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00p, live from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The money line favors the Philadelphia Flyers at -105 with an over/under set at 6.5.