The Flyers play host to the Canadiens tonight in a winnable game against a struggling Habs team. Looking to make it three straight wins, Philly is starting to heat up at the right time. But just because the odds favor the orange and black, it doesn’t mean that this will be a walk in the park.
The Flyers have won the last two meetings with the Habs, who are currently 20-21-7 and coming off of a 4-1 demolition job at the hands of the Blackhawks.
Conceding an average of 3.15 goals per game, it’s safe to say that veteran goaltender Carey Price is struggling. He has a .907 save percentage and 2.87 GAA in his 38 games so far, but he’s been shaky at the best of times. What’s worse for the Canadiens is that there isn’t exactly a high-octane offense to help him out.
Montreal have been missing Joel Armia, who looks set to return tonight, while Brendan Gallagher, who is responsible for 15 goals and 32 points this season, is still sidelined.
This, of course, will come of great relief to the Orange and Clad, who will be without star goaltender Carter Hart, who has suffered an abdominal strain. Brian Elliott has been a little topsy-turvy this season and has allowed 14 goals in his last 4 games. As a result, the Flyers will ride Alex Lyon, who will instead be making his first start of the season.
If the defense can smother a team that does have four really strong lines on paper, the offense should be able to carry the load.
If this game becomes a high-scoring affair, the Flyers have more than enough firepower to force an ailing Price into mistakes. Travis Konecny has been red-hot this year and has recorded a point in four of his last five games. When you partner that with the team’s hustle to drive to two overtime wins with a little help from Brad Marchand and Jake Voracek, confidence should be at an all-time high.
The Flyers powerplay should be licking their lips. They’ve converted 2/5 opportunities over the last two games, and Montreal’s PK unit has been dismal, ranking 23rd in the NHL.
Vigneault has the Flyers playing his brand of Hockey and the plan is starting to come together. With guys like Kevin Hayes and Claude Giroux continuing to facilitate the growth and emergence of the next generation, the Flyers have the perfect offensive balance and should be able to go stride-for-stride with a Canadiens team who are just as likely to stun you with excellence as they are disappointment.
Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre