Having lost eight straight games, The Philadelphia Flyers play host to the Colorado Avalanche tonight in the second game in two days. The Avalanche brings their star-powered team to The Wells Fargo Center for a 7 pm puck drop.
The Flyers will have a new look behind the bench as Alain Vigneault and Michel Therrian have been relieved of their coaching duties. Mike Yeo acts as interim (lame duck) head coach. Although Yeo has a Minnesota connection with Fletcher, so who knows.
It will be the first time that Nicolas Aube-Kubel returns to Philadephia since being claimed on waivers by the Avalanche. NAK has certainly hit the NHL lottery, getting away from the dumpster fire that is the Flyers season.
The Avalanche are starting 21-year-old goaltender, Justus Annunen. Aunnunen will be making his first NHL start. A fact that should benefit the struggling Flyers’ offense. However, that isn’t always the case as for some mythical reason, NHL Goalies making their debut or their first start seem to channel their inner Patrick Roy against the Flyers. See Jeremy Swayman, who had 40 saves on 42 shots in his debut.
The Flyers will also have to deal with the NHL’s top-scoring defenseman as well as the Avs’ top scorer as Cale Makar and Nazem Khadri, both return to the lineup after missing time due to injuries.
Oh, did I forget to mention that Nathan MacKinnon is also back in the lineup?
Keys to the Flyers’ Success
Martin Jones will get the start tonight, and if the Flyers hope to win, he will have to pitch a shutout. The Flyers’ defense is going to have to be perfect and block shot after shot. Basically, be completely opposite to what they were last night.
The Flyers are 28th in the NHL in scoring with 51 goals in 22 games. That’s a season average of 2.31 goals per game. However, since October 30th, the Flyers are averaging around 1.6 goals per game, having been shut out three times.
On the other hand, the Avalanche are fourth in the NHL in goals scored. The Avs scored 84 goals in 21 games for an average of four goals per game. The Flyers have a slight edge in goals against as they surrendered 70 goals to Colorados 71.
The Flyers will need to do everything right to beat the Avs. Although the Avs are in the middle of the western conference, they are still a high-powered team that figures to end Tampa’s stranglehold on Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Max Willman has been recalled as well. My prediction, a non-entertaining game for the Flyers faithful and a 5-2 loss.