The Flyers went into Carolina and handed the division-leading Hurricanes their second loss of the season, however, they have little time to savor the victory as they travel to Dallas to take on the Stars tonight at 8 PM.
The Flyers looked flat at times against the Hurricanes but were able to endure and get two points. They are currently fourth in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 7-3-2. The Stars on the other hand have wobbled and are holding a record of 4-6-2.
After starting the season on fire, the Flyers’ offense has cooled a bit. In their first five games, the Flyers were held under four goals just once, averaging 4.6 goals per game. Since that time, they have only scored three goals once in seven games and were shut out twice, averaging 1.57 goals per game. The powerplay has struggled and is having a hard time getting set up in the zone.
The Flyers offense got a jolt last night when Joel Farabee ended his scoring drought before Zack MacEwen scored the game-winner on a beautiful re-direction. With Dallas giving up 3.17 goals per game, this is a perfect spot to keep the motor running.
Dallas is 1-4-2 over the past seven games, having given up four goals per game. If the Flyers are to continue to be in consideration, they have to win against struggling teams. Look for Farabee to have another good game with his new linemates.
Goaltending, Goaltending, Goaltending
When was the last time Flyers fans could boast about great goaltending? It’s great to see the tandem of Hart and Jones shining, finally giving fans a reason to be optimistic.
Last night, Carter Hart was simply amazing stopping 39 of 40 Hurricane shots. He will get a well-deserved rest tonight as Martin Jones will get the call. Jones has also been terrific in net this year. He has the easiest save percentage to figure out having stopped 95 of 100 shots faced. His 1.67 Goals Against Average is tops in the NHL with a minimum of three games played.
Stopping the Dallas offense
The key for Jones and the Flyers will be to stay out of the penalty box. The Stars currently have the third-best powerplay in the league, converting at a 29% rate. Stopping Alexander Radulov has to be a priority as he has had the Flyers’ number as of late. In his past four games, he has 6 points, 3 goals, and 3 assists. Four of those points, 2G/2A, came during their last clash at the American Airlines Arena.
Miro Heiskanen leads The Stars in points from the blue line. He has twelve points in twelve games, three goals, and nine assists. The Flyers will also have to deal with NHL Stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.
The Flyers could welcome back Ryan Ellis, Kevin Hayes, or both to the lineup tonight. Alain Vigneault stated last night following the win that it could be the last game the Flyes play without either. Speculation from earlier in the week is that Ellis returns to the lineup tonight. As for Hayes, we still are uncertain if his campaign to get back in the lineup has worked.
In Ellis’ absence, Justin Braun has been excellent. He has played a solid defensive game with Ivan Provorov and has quietly climbed up the points leader board. He is in a three-way tie for third on the Flyers in points with eight, one goal, and seven assists. Look for Ellis to be paired with Keith Yandle and ease back into the lineup.
The Flyers will once again face a former Flyers in Michael Raffl. Raffl played in 504 games for the Flyers. Nicolas Aube-Kubel was waived to make cap room for the return of Kevin Hayes. The gamble did not pay off as NAK was claimed off waivers by the Colorado Avalanche. Good luck, NAK.
Bold prediction. The Flyers take this game 5-1, with Oskar Lindblom scoring his first of the season.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre