Putting their three-game winning streak on the line in Montreal, the Philadelphia Flyers face the Canadiens at 7pm. Carter Hart will get the start in goal in the first of three meetings between the clubs this season.
The Flyers seem to have right the ship after their ten-game losing skid. At the start of the season, the boys were buzzing scoring on average 3.2 goals a game through the first ten games. They did a great job of fending off back-to-back losses. After winning key road games against two of the NHL’s best teams (the Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames) the Flyers faltered. You could see it starting as they struggled to score goals. In their four games prior to the skid, Philadelphia averaged just 1.5 goals per game.
Who Are The Flyers?
They’re back to their scoring ways. During their current winning streak, the Philadelphia Flyers have scored fifteen goals in three games. They scored just eighteen goals during the losing streak. So, are the Flyers the team with the potent offense, or the team averaging less than two goals a game?
Philadelphia is playing a different style with interim head coach Mike Yeo. Yeo has the Flyers playing faster with more puck control. Last week, when the New Jersey Devils shut out Philadelphia, the Devils pushed the pace, making the Flyers look incredibly slow. That changed on Tuesday when the Flyers looked like a completely different team and took it to New Jersey.
“The Captain,” Claude Giroux, sits just one point shy of Bill Barber for second place in franchise history. It is safe to say that Giroux is one of the best Flyers, all-time. Back in Canada, Giroux could tie Barber, or perhaps take sole possession of second place.
Giroux leads his team in points with 24 points (10G, 14A) in 27 games. Cam Atkinson leads Philadelphia in goals (12) following his hat-trick on Tuesday. The Flyers need Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, and Travis Konecny to start finding the back of the net with more consistency should they hope to make a playoff push.
“From everything that I understand, the limited time that I’ve watched him play, he has really bought into the role and the identity that he needs to have to be a pro hockey player.”Mike Yeo; 12/15/2021
The lineup will not include Morgan Frost due to the COVID-19 protocol. He did not travel with the team. Oskar Lindblom will take his place with Giroux and Atkinson. Jackson Cates will make his season debut as Joel Farabee and Derick Brassard remain out.
The Struggling Habs
What a difference a few months make. Just this summer, the Montreal Canadiens made an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Now, “the Habs” have a new President in Geoff Molson but remain without a General Manager.
Montreal hosts the Philadelphia Flyers, looking to end their seven-game losing streak. The Canadiens have not been good. They have fifteen points putting them second to last in the NHL behind the Arizona Coyotes. Offensively, they’ve struggled mightily, averaging just 2.13 goals per game (30th in the NHL.) Defensively, they’re worse. Missing Shea Weber and Carey Price allows an average of 3.57 goals per game.
Brendan Gallagher and Sami Niku aren’t available until Monday. The Canadiens recalled Cayden Primeau from the AHL Laval Rocket. Primeau, who is no stranger to the Flyers, will start against his father’s old team. He also played youth hockey in Pennsauken, before heading to Northeastern. He’ll likely return to Laval after tonight’s game.
Philadelphia must win. The Flyers had one of the hardest schedules to begin the season. They have to win against the teams they are supposed to beat. I worry this is a trap game, as there is potential to look ahead towards the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, or even the surging Ottawa Senators. The Flyers will need to continue to put pressure on Montreal.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)