Flyers Eye Fifth Place in Metro Versus Sens

NHL: New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers
Mar 31, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim (6) against the New York Rangers during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

We need a silver lining during increasingly uncertain times. The Philadelphia Flyers (11-12-5) hope to keep their points streak alive on home ice. They’ll take on the Ottawa Senators (9-17-1), live from the Wells Fargo Center, at 7pm.

Following a shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens, the Flyers hope to get back into the win column. The operative term regarding that loss is “shootout.” Philadelphia didn’t stall in the standings. They were unable to optimize their opportunity at two points.

As of late, the Senators are not a pushover. They can lay claim to shutting out the Tampa Bay Lightning and scoring eight goals on the Florida Panthers, whereas the Flyers couldn’t get over that hump.

How do these two teams square up before their weekend rumble?

Don’t Trust The Senators…

They’re a nineteen-point team with impressive wins to their credit recently.

The Ottawa Senators have less than ten wins, similar to the Montreal Canadiens. Dictating the pace of the action, like the Canadiens, is the chief key to the Senators winning this game.

Anton Forsberg (90.9% SV, 3.09 GAA, 6-5-0) will likely start for Ottawa. He took the crease during practice. Forsberg, claimed off waivers three times last season, finally stuck with the Senators after the Edmonton Oilers, Carolina Hurricanes, and Winnipeg Jets passed him up.

Brady Tkachuk (12G, 10A) is the go-to player to watch. Previously, the Philadelphia Flyers had themselves an evening with Matthew Tkachuk during a win over the Calgary Flames. Expect a rivalry to resume, except with a different Tkachuk brother. If the NHL pauses play until after the holiday break, tonight could provide some fireworks.

Here’s the projected lineup tonight for Ottawa:

Philadelphia Fly-By

The Philadelphia Flyers were minimally affected by the COVID protocol. Max Willman joins Morgan Frost in COVID protocol. Tonight, the Flyers are without Carter Hart (undetermined illness) too.

Joel Farabee (7G, 3A) returns to help spark the lineup. He’ll help shape a new top-line tonight centered by Sean Couturier (6G, 10A) and featuring Travis Konecny (5G, 10A.)

Martin Jones (90.8% SV, 3.37 GAA, 4-4-1) will start, and Felix Sandstrom is recalled from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to take the backup role.

Highlight the Travis Sanheim (47.2 CF, 45 BLK, 14 GV, +4) and Rasmus Ristolainen (46.1 CF, 88 HIT, 13 GV, -8) second pair. As I alluded to earlier, tonight has the makings to be very physical. Ristolainen continues to mow down any opposing player in front of him. In the offensive zone, Sanheim and Ristolainen are also heating up. Puck possession is a critical element in dictating the pace, which Philadelphia will lean heavily on these two to disrupt the Ottawa Senators.

Here’s the projected lineup for the Flyers:

Prediction

These are a couple of struggling teams. The Ottawa Senators are 5-5-0 in their last ten games. For the Philadelphia Flyers, they’re playing for fifth place in the Metropolitan Division standings. Though the Flyers are having a better season overall, it’s the Senators with the momentum lately. Philadelphia has favorable odds regarding the money line, but they feel like an underdog.

Senators win, 4-3.

(Photo Credit: Eric Hartline – USA TODAY Sports)

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