This road trip has been far from an ideal one for the Flyers. After losing two out of three games against the bottom of the Western Conference, they now have a test in facing three stronger opponents in the upcoming week.
The Philadelphia Flyers (22-13-5) face off against the Vegas Golden Knights (22-15-6) at T-Mobile Arena Thursday night.
Catch the game at 10 p.m. EST with coverage beginning at 9:30 on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
The Flyers are +140 Moneyline underdogs with the over/under set at 6.0 goals.
Know Your Enemy: Vegas Golden Knights
So far this season, Max Pacioretty leads the Golden Knights with 16 goals and has recorded 41 points. Mark Stone has totaled five goals and 10 assists over the last 10 games for Vegas.
Familiar foe Marc-Andre Fleury is the top guy between the pipes for Vegas so far. On the season, Fleury is 16-8-3 with a .913 save percentage and 2.71 GAA. However, with Fleury’s age and starting two straight games, don’t be surprised if Malcolm Subban is the netminder Thursday night. He has a much more modest 6-6-3 record, with a .904 save percentage and 2.90 GAA.
In their last ten games, Vegas is 6-3-1, averaging 3.6 goals, six assists, 4.2 penalties and 9.7 penalty minutes while giving up 3.1 goals per game with a .896 save percentage.
Getting Back on Track
Looking to end 2019 on a high note, the Flyers took a complete tumble heading into the new year. The Kings defeated them 5-3 in embarrassing fashion, and the Flyers are at one of their lowest points of the season so far.
The team’s history against Golden Knights suggests that this could be the game to get the team back on track.
Since Vegas came into the league in 2018, the Flyers have played them five times. Overall, they sport a 3-2-0 record against the Knights but have outscored them 17-9. This includes a 2-0-0 record on their turf, where they have outscored Vegas 9-3.
Earlier this season, the Flyers conquered the Knights 6-2 as well in Joel Farabee’s debut.
Key to the Game:
Please, just fix special teams
During this road trip, the Flyers have only killed five of their eight penalties (62.5%), where they went 0-3 against the Kings. For the season, Philadelphia has only killed 77.8% of their penalties on the road. Compare this to at home, where they survive being a man down 86% of the time.
The same trend goes for their powerplay conversion as well. At home, they score about 25% of their powerplays, but on the road, it drops to about 15%. On this trip, they have converted two of their eight opportunities thus far, for a decent 25% conversion rate.
At this point, the powerplay seems to be trending up, as the penalty kill is making its way in a downward spiral. There is little consistency within their special teams as a whole, and they’re in for a challenge against a solid special teams squad in Vegas.
Surprisingly enough, the Flyers are tied for ninth in the NHL with Vegas in regards to special teams. Despite this, their conversion rates on the road are a cause for concern as the second half of the season is right over the horizon. Playing a team like Vegas and netting a powerplay goal or two could help provide confidence for the team heading forward.
Look, most people, including myself, have been optimistic this entire trip so far, and it got us nowhere. But this time, the Flyers are bound to win, right?
Assuming Subban gets the nod for Vegas, and Hart is officially between the pipes for Philadelphia, it seems to be a good game for the Flyers to get their footing.
Philadelphia wins this one, 4-3.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre