Philadelphia Flyers

What Flyers fans need to know ahead of tonight’s showdown with the Leafs

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While it’s only been four days since the Flyers last played, any kind of gap in the regular season can feel like a lifetime. Luckily, that comes to an end tonight when the Flyers host the Maple Leafs. 

Through the young season, the only other time the Flyers played after four days came against the Oilers — and it was one of the most impressive wins so far. In the past, slow starts have been an early nail in the coffin for the Flyers. The Leafs are coming off of a deflating loss and will be looking to bounce back against the well-rested Flyers. 

This Toronto team has been walking on a fine line of good and bad — as they’ve snagged wins against the Lightning and Bruins and losses against the Kings and Sharks. Most of their games end with more questions than answers, which makes it pretty difficult to get an honest read. More times than not, this kind of team tees up a perfect trap game for the Flyers, where they play down to their opponent. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope they kicked that habit. 

Eyeing up an Ellis return 

Following Tuesday’s morning skate, we heard some promising news about the return of Ryan Ellis from head coach Alain Vigneault. Ellis — who has only played three games this season, his last dating back to Oct. 20 — is set to return in the “near future.” Unfortunately, he won’t be making his debut tonight.

While the blue line has been surprisingly solid in Ellis’ absence, it’s hard to ignore the power duo he and Ivan Provorov are. Even in the small sample size we’ve seen of the defensive pairing, the Flyers are a stronger team when they are together. 

He has also contributed on the offensive side of things, having one goal and three assists through those three games he’s played. 

In short, the sooner Ellis returns, the better. 

Tracking Tavares 

Leafs captain John Tavares has been off to a rather impressive start this season, averaging a point per game through 13 played. He’s currently leading the team in goals and points (7G, 6A — 13P), but is not the only one holding that top spot. Mitch Marner, who is currently leading the team in assists (10) also has 13 points. More impressively, 11 of those 13 points came in the last five games. 

Hart bringing the heat 

Even though his last outing against the Penguins resulted in a loss in overtime, Carter Hart was the primary reason his team walked away with a point that night. This is never fun to admit, but the Flyers deserved to lose that game in regulation. It’s a great feeling to know a goaltender has the ability to steal a point or two throughout the season. 

Hart hasn’t seen any game action since Pittsburgh, which was exactly one week ago. Well-rested is definitely an understatement, but he will be between the pipes tonight against the Leafs. 

Quick hits

-The Wayne Train is pulling into Wells Fargo Center — expect one heck of an ovation for the fan-favorite

Travis Konecny is two goals away from reaching 100 in his NHL career

You can watch tonight’s Flyers-Leafs matchup at 7:30 p.m. EST on NBCSP. 

Photo Credit: Alex McIntrye

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