The New York Rangers come into Philadelphia on a hot streak. Having won eight of their last ten games, they have put themselves into playoff contention. They sit just four points back of the last wild card spot. On Thursday, the Flyers took to the ice in Voorhees to prepare for the two-game set that starts Friday night. They will play each other again on Sunday at 1 PM.
The Flyers are also on a hot streak, having won four in a row and seven of their last ten. Since being shut out against New Jersey on February 2nd, the Flyers have averaged four goals a game. They will be well-rested, having not played since Tuesday. The Rangers will not be rested as they come into Philly on the second half of a back to back with travel.
As the Flyers took to the ice, what was noticeable was that neither Matt Niskanen nor Kevin Hayes was on the ice. Flyers Head Coach, Alain Vigneault confirmed that it was a maintenance day for both players. In their absence, Shayne Gostisbehere and Nolan Patrick took their places.
Goalies Looked Good
At this point in the season, the goaltending will be crucial. Carter Hart and Brian Elliott seemed to be stopping everything today. Hart had some really nice saves including denying a Scott Laughton on a cross-crease shot. His lateral movement is something to see.
At the other end of the ice, Brian Elliot looked just as good. He stopped all but one Travis Konecny shot. The tandem will prove to be critical as the Flyers continue a push to the playoffs. Per Vigneault, Hart gets the start tomorrow. No decision has been made on Sunday’s game.
The Defense is the Key
It appears that the Flyers will stick with the same defensive pairings tomorrow, meaning Ghost will sit. The D-men will be faced with a tough task of shutting down Artemi Panarin, who currently sits fourth in the NHL in points. When asked about the task of shutting down Panarin, Phil Myers told Phillysportsnetwork.com the following:
“You know, I think we just got to treat them like anybody else and play like we usually do, you know, be aggressive, but obviously be smart when he’s on the ice and just try and take away his time and space. You know, we can’t respect him too much. We got to, like I said, play him like, he’s just another player. “
Ivan Provorov also stated that the key to beating the Rangers:
“Yeah, just play tight, be aggressive. Yeah, and play with the puck. You know, when you gotta make the best players defend, you know, they don’t like to defend. So if we have the puck, and we control the play that you know they can’t score and that will frustrate them.”
The Flyers are Confident and Clicking
The Flyers are clicking. There is no doubt about it as you look at the standings. However, when asked why they were clicking, Jake Voracek was kind of at a loss for words. JvR wasn’t, as he yelled “FLYERS” across the dressing room. Voracek said that the group is playing with confidence and that “If you’re confident, if you play your best there’s a 99% chance you’re gonna win.” Keep that confidence up Jake.
Make A Wish, turning a dream into a reality
Blake Steigauf is a 15-year-old cancer patient. However today he became a Flyer:
The Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher held a press conference to announce the signing of Steigauf to a contract. For more on Blake’s journey to the NHL, visit @makeawishPHL on twitter or read the story below. Congrats Blake. We are all with you as nobody fights alone.
Mandatory Credit – © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Matt is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a degree in Journalism. After College he was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army where he was an Airborne Ranger and served with the famed 101st Airborne Division. RAKKASAN! When not at work you can find him coaching his son and daughter’s sports teams. Follow Matt, AKA the Delco Dope on twitter at https://twitter.com/delco_dope