Flyers Look For First Victory as a Former Friend is in Town

NHL: MAY 08 Sabres at Penguins
PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 08: Buffalo Sabres Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (55) looks on during the second period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres on May 8, 2021, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

The Flyers opened their season in on Friday night, a 5-4 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks. The team showed heart, erasing a two-goal deficit to tie the game in the third period only to inevitably fall short in the shootout. Sean Couturier, Ryan Ellis and Keith Yandle each tallied two assists; Joel Farabee had a goal and an assist, and Claude Giroux, Cam Atkinson and Travis Konecny each potted a goal in the loss.

The Flyers had a long weekend off and now they welcome the new team on the block, the Seattle Kraken, to the Wells Fargo Center as they look to notch their first win of the year.

Flyers Keys to victory

One of the prizes of the Flyers offseason was tentatively scheduled to make his debut – Rasmus Ristolainen.

This is big news! Ristolainen was brought in to be a top four defenseman, likely being paired with Travis Sanheim. He brings a physical presence to the ice and will be a welcomed addition to the group.

UPDATE 12:00PM: Risto was ruled out and still day-to-day during the morning press conferences. He’s expected to play on Wednesday.

However, Ristolainen, and the rest of the defense, are my first key to a Flyers victory, though. The Canucks were able to put up four goals in regulation before winning in the shootout – a deeper, more experienced defense needs to slow down the opposing offense and with a recent lesson learned I think they have a bounce back performance against the Kraken.

The second key is Carter Hart. I wrote before how the team will go as far as Carter Hart takes them and he simply was not good enough in the season opener. He’s 23-years old and I’m not giving up on him – he just needs to be better and working against a new team that’s still learning to play together this is a perfect opportunity to build confidence and momentum moving forward.

Know the enemy

The Seattle Kraken make their inaugural trip to Philadelphia with a 1-1-1 record. They are captained by 38-year old defenseman Mark Giordano and led in points by Brandon Tanev and Jared McCann who each have three. Philipp Grubauer is their starting goaltender and he brings a .894 save percentage and 2.99 GAA to the table.

Led by former Flyers coach Dave Hakstol, the Kraken have been a competitive hockey team, losing in regulation 3-4 to the Vegas Golden Knights in their first game, beating the Predators 4-3 in their second game and losing in overtime 2-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in their third.


This game will be fun, I think.

Grubauer can be scored upon and this Flyers team has a potent offense that can come at you in waves which could make for a long night for the Kraken.

Look for all four lines to stay involved all night long generating pressure through Hakstol’s conservative defense.

My prediction is a comfortable regulation win. I think this Flyers team has advantages up and down the roster from offense to defense to coaching. On paper, this is a can’t lose match up. Let’s see if paper translates to the ice.

Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire