The Flyers have been an absolute rollercoaster of a team so far this season. We’ve seen their highs and lows all within the first 26 games this season. The inconsistency has been their Achilles’ Heel, especially against some of the tougher opponents. Nonetheless, they now find themselves on the outside looking in for the ultra-competitive final playoff spot.
Philadelphia will look to get back within a point of that coveted fourth playoff spot as they face off against the Rangers in the fourth of eight meetings this season. Coverage will begin at 7 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia, with puck drop slated for 7:30 pm. You can catch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia or NBCSN. In front of their home fans, the Flyers are -130 money line favorites with the over/under sitting at an even six goals.
Flyers look to go streaking
Back on the first meeting between these teams, the Flyers fell short in a shootout. Despite Nic Aube-Kubel scoring toward the end of the first to give the team a 1-0 lead, the Rangers responded with two unanswered. Joel Farabee tied the game up late with the extra attacker. However, the Rangers got the best of the very poor shootout team.
Games two and three have been a different story. The Flyers have done their fair share of controlling play in the recent contests. Back on February 24, Chris Kreider’s hat trick wasn’t enough. Philadelphia had Claude Giroux return to the lineup, and so did their winning ability. This sentiment carried into game three of this season series as well. On Monday night, the veterans took over. Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk, and Jake Voracek went into X-games mode to carry the team to victory.
The Flyers do not have anyone currently listed on the injury report. However, I would assume that Brian Elliott is back either in net, or backing Carter Hart again tonight. Also, based on Charlie’s assumptions above, there are some lineup changes tonight. With a really busy schedule coming up, and both Lindblom and NAK playing eight or less minutes each on Monday, each of them may get a rest day. This is all speculation, but I am nearly positive that there are going to be changes.
- Justin Richards: out (health protocols)
- Adam Fox: day to day (health protocols)
- Phillip Di Giuseppe: day to day (health protocols)
- Pavel Buchnevich: day to day (health protocols)
- Igor Shesterkin: day to day (lower body).
Players to Watch:
The player to watch for the Flyers has to be Carter Hart. If he gets the nod tonight, it’s for good reason. He’s played the second most games against a single team against the Rangers (6), and has thrived. For his career, he’s 4-1-1 with a .912 save percentage and a 2.45 goals against average. Hart looked good against the Rangers on Monday night, and looks to be getting back on track.
On the skater’s side of things, one player to keep an eye on is Travis Sanheim. This may sound strange, but hear me out. He’s looked rough for the good majority of the season, I know. On Monday, during overtime, he literally skated into his own zone and managed to face plant into the boards without being touched. However, he has had great success against New York in his career. His eight points in 12 games is tied for the most he has against a single team. If he’s going to get back on track, tonight may be the night he does it.
I mean, it’s always a good time watching Artemi Panarin play- the guy’s electric on the ice. However, the player to watch for New York has to be K’Andre Miller. The 21-year-old defenseman has been a staple at the blue line for the Rangers. He leads the team with a plus-six in 24 games this season. Along with this, he showed great prowess in the game Monday night against the Flyers. When the Rangers were starting to spark in the second period, his sound defense was an underrated contribution. He kept the Flyers out of the neutral zone, didn’t give them easy zone entries, and looked like a veteran each time he touched the ice. The Rangers will have to rely on him during big moments in tonight’s game if they want to triumph Philadelphia.
Okay, maybe I’m being a little bit of a homer here. However, the Flyers know that the first-place New York Islanders are up next on their schedule. While Pittsburgh and Boston are beating each other up, the Flyers need to capitalize on these teams outside of the current playoff picture. They know this- especially their veterans.
Philadelphia needs to ride the momentum that Voracek and Giroux sparked for them in Monday night’s victory. The Flyers’ depth is superior to that of the Rangers, and it will kick in tonight. Hopefully, the young guns can contribute to their end of the bargain and make this a fairly decisive victory. Oh, and the Flyers are 11-8-1-3 in games played on St. Patty’s Day.
Chalk up a 5-2 Flyers win.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre