Injuries on top of injuries are taking out the Flyers lineup one forward at a time. With two Phantoms joining the lineup tonight, the Flyers’ lineup has some new players, some old players, and is missing a lot of important players. On the road tonight in Winnipeg, the orange and black have their work cut out for them but, like Shayne Gostisbehere said, they need two points, bad.
In addition to the players who have been out, Scott Laughton and Tyler Pitlick both left last night’s contest against Minnesota and did not return. Information on their injuries has not yet been provided. With the addition of thse two players, the Flyers will be missing Nolan Patrick, Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, Michael Raffl, Samuel Morin, Scott Laughton, and Tyler Pitlick.
The Winnipeg Jets are also missing four players: Bryan Little, Dustin Byfuglien, Dmitry Kulikov, and Mark Letestu. All experiencing injury with the exception of Dustin Byfuglien who has been suspended by the team without pay for hinting at retirement with two seasons remaining on his contract.
The Flyers, however, are down a lot of players who have proven to be important assets to this team while the Jets have the majority of their key players active. The Flyers now have six players in their lineup that were called upon this season from their AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
The injury-ridden Flyers are looking to their core to pull through, but now more than ever, they will need to show up. Sean Couturier has been the Flyers most consistent forward, but other players, who seem to go invisible from game to game, will need to play a full sixty minutes to give the Flyers a fighting chance. Tonight’s game is going to be a battle for some, but a strong team effort is the only way the Flyers will come out on top. The Flyers players are entering the second half of a back-to-back while the two call ups (Carsen Twarynski, Nicolas Aube-Kubel) will be entering their third in three. Key players tonight are going to be Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, James Van Riemsdyk, and Kevin Hayes as they’re all players who will need to step up to lead this team to a win.
The Jets have five players that have over twenty points on the seasons, and two players who average one point per game. Strong defense will win this game, because the Flyers will need to contain Mark Scheifele (PPG), Patrik Laine (PPG), Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Blake Wheeler. With the exception of Blake Wheeler, each of these players have ten or more goals this season; Wheeler has eight.
With Carter Hart playing against Minnesota, Brian Elliott (7-3-2) will get the start tonight against Connor Hellebuyck (15-8-2) of the Winnipeg Jets. A key factor in winning this game will be pouring in shots on goal. The Jets are ranked twenty-seventh in the league in shots on goal allowed with an average of thirty two allowed per game. In their most recent loss to the Detroit Red Wings, the Jets allowed twenty eight shots on goal and lost with a final score of 5-2 (one goal on an empty net). Brian Elliott has been a strong back-up for the Flyers and plays exceptionally well when the defense is working with him. Defense is key in this game.
In this game, the Flyers should be looking to draw as many penalties as possible. The Jets’ penalty kill is ranked twenty seventh in the league and the Flyers could benefit from a man advantage. Strong defense, drawn penalties, and a complete team effort will put the Flyers on top in this contest. Working as a collective unit, the Flyers look like a well oiled machine; let’s hope this new hardware can keep the engine running.
The Flyers will complete their roadtrip tonight in Winnipeg. Puck drop is at 5:00 pm. Stay tuned on Philly Sports Network for the post game recap.