Tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers host the Boston Bruins at the Wells Fargo Center in hopes of leveling the playing field from earlier this season.
Two games ago, the theme for the Philadelphia Flyers was revenge as they sought to make up for a playoff series defeat from last postseason. The team did just that, conquering the New York Islanders twice in overtime. Tonight, it’s the same story. Philadelphia aims to take down the Boston Bruins at home.
An ugly 6-1 loss to the Bruins pushed Carter Hart to find a new level. Since then, he’s 2-0-0 and is riding a wave of momentum after notching victories against the New Jersey Devils (1-0-1 vs. Boston) and the Islanders (1-0-0 vs. Boston). Without question, this team can defeat the Bruins after proving themselves as of late. With a nearly healthy lineup, Philadelphia is not who they were when they went 0-1-1 against Boston earlier this season. Can they get the proverbial monkey off their back?
Boston Bruins – Forward Spotlight
Recently, the Bruins were able to hand the Washington Capitals their first regulation loss. Finding themselves down, 3-0, they scored five unanswered goals to secure the regulation time win. David Pastrnak is back in the lineup. He scored two goals to put Boston back into the game. He’s a superstar player who is a crucial part of their gameplan.
Against the Capitals on Monday, Pastrnak was the best player on the ice. He can bust a game wide open for the Bruins. On the top line, he’ll play on the right-wing with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. It is up to the Flyers defense, particularly on the first and second pair, to shut down that top line. Previously, Shayne Gostisbehere and Philippe Myers were out of the lineup in the two losses in Boston.
Boston Bruins – Defensemen Spotlight
Jakub Zboril has played disciplined as of late. The Bruins are a smart team defensively, which translates to dangerous offensive productivity. In turn, Zboril notched an assist last time out. He was on the ice for just over sixteen minutes, providing Boston with an extra boost on offense. Defensively, they have a very stable unit.
Zboril found himself in the penalty box once, serving a minor for cross-checking. Philadelphia has an eleventh ranked powerplay unit. To get ahead of the Bruins, the special teams must convert on man-up opportunities. Tonight, Erik Gustafsson will likely be in the lineup. To counteract the opposition, he must execute his role of powerplay specialist.
Boston Bruins – Goaltender Spotlight
Tuukka Rask will start between the pipes tonight for Boston. This season, he owns a 3-1-1 overall record (1-0-0 vs. the Flyers). Though his record is sturdy, his save percentage is under 90%. In his last start, Washington won in overtime.
Philadelphia scored four goals on Rask earlier this season. They even secured a two-goal lead before taking the loss in a shootout. The Flyers have shown the ability to get out in front of the Bruins with Rask in the net. With a more stable defensive lineup, Philadelphia can combat Boston while putting quality shots on the net.
Philadelphia Flyers Phlight Deck
Morin To Lehigh Valley
Samuel Morin will play on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He’ll participate in tomorrow night’s rescheduled pre-season game versus the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. Earlier this season, Morin made an appearance against the Islanders in the first overtime victory. He replaced Travis Konecny in the lineup, a healthy scratch on the evening. Morin will develop with more playing time on the Phantoms, honing his craft at a new position.
Home Ice Dominance
Would it surprise you if you learned that under Alain Vigneault, the Flyers have yet to lose ten games in regulation on home ice? The locker room has bought into his system and continues to play at a high level. Since Vigneault was named the head coach, Philadelphia is scoring more than 3.5 goals per game on average while allowing 2.1 goals per game. The goal differential is at +59. Perhaps it isn’t a surprise that the Flyers are off to a 7-2-1 start in 2020-2021 after all.
Interest In Braydon Coburn?
Earlier today, the Ottawa Senators placed Braydon Coburn on waivers. That decision makes him available to be signed to any NHL team before he clears. This season, Philadelphia has been rotating defensemen to find stability on the third pair. Would Coburn be a better option as a rotating seventh defenseman?
Playing on the left side of the defense, interest in Coburn would mean would replace Robert Hagg. Gustafsson, who plays on either side of the ice, is not as expendable due to his flexibility. The former Stanley Cup winner has one assist this season with a minus-five rating. Comparably, Hagg hasn’t registered a point with a minus-two rating. Signing Coburn doesn’t provide an upgrade for the Flyers defense in 2020-2021, especially when considering Hagg is a decade younger.
Flyers vs Bruins Prediction
Entering tonight’s game as the underdog, Philadelphia still has much to prove during their four-game win streak. The Bruins are looking to build off of defeating the Capitals in overtime. Both teams have momentum heading into tonight’s 8pm puck drop at the Wells Fargo Center. Revenge motivates the Flyers, especially after an ugly defeat at Boston. Tonight, Philadelphia returns the favor, 5-3.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre