Game Preview 42/82: Flyers vs Stars

Flyers' Claude Giroux
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 18: Philadelphia Flyers Left Wing Claude Giroux (28) celebrates a goal in the first period during the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers on November 18, 2021 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

We’ve reached the final week of January, and the Philadelphia Flyers are winless in 2022.

Let that sink in. Thirteen total wins place Philadelphia in the same bucket as the Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Arizona Coyotes, and the Seattle Kraken. Of those teams, they’re winless against the Canadiens and Sabres. Even the Senators and Kraken forced overtime.

Last Saturday, Buffalo handled the Flyers, 6-3. Rasmus Ristolainen scored, but Robert Hagg was the better defender. Head-to-head, the trade Chuck Fletcher made for Ristolainen didn’t age well.

Claude Giroux tallied two goals, raising his stock. The teams’ scouting at the Wells Fargo Center versus the Columbus Blue Jackets could be conjuring deals to explore closer to the trade deadline.

Tonight, Mike Yeo and his locker room cannot allow the losing streak to hit twelve games. As this season sludges forward, Philadelphia must key in on the players they believe will organizational value after this season. Not only the recalled prospects but core starters. It’s about rebuilding a foundation, especially if the right decision is to “tear it down.” It isn’t rock bottom; it’s the ocean floor.

Dallas Stars (20-16-2; 42pts)

Unavailable for the Stars Michael Raffl, Radek Faksa, and Andrej Sekera. Sekera is a healthy scratch. Faksa (illness) and Raffl (lower body) are unavailable due to injury.

Here is the projected lineup for Dallas:

Robertson-Hintz-Pavelski
Benn-Seguin-Gurianov
Kiviranta-Gardner-Glendening
Peterson-Damiani-Radulov

Suter-Heiskanen
Lindell-Klingberg
Hanley-Hakanpaa

Oettinger
(Holtby)

Jake Oettinger (9-4-0, 2.73GAA, 90.5%SV) will start. Recently, he allowed five goals versus Montreal before Braden Holtby relieved him of his duty.

Roope Hintz (17G, 15A) is the player to watch. He’s clutch lately, scoring the overtime game-winner on the road against the Detroit Red Wings. Before that goal, he notched an assist when Jason Robertson tied the game with 1:03 in regulation. He’s one of three players, 25-years-old or younger, to be within the top-five of team scoring. Robertson is second, and Miro Heiskanen is fourth, topping the Stars’ defensemen.

Heiskanen will have the attention of the loathsome Flyers fanbase. Remember, Bobby Clarke made everyone aware that Philadelphia wanted Heiskanen or Cale Makar instead of Nolan Patrick. Defense is a high alert team need. Poor decisions from Ron Hextall at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft set the Flyers a decade behind.

A Philadelphia Fly-By

Philadelphia is without Wade Allison (MCL,) Joel Farabee (upper body,) Kevin Hayes (lower body,) Patrick Brown (MCL,) Derick Brassard (hip,) Sean Couturier (upper body,) Nate Thompson (shoulder,) and Ryan Ellis (lower body.) They’ve been one of the most banged-up NHL teams all season. The Flyers don’t have an identity; even worse, they don’t know what this team could be if the lineup were healthy.

Here’s the projected lineup for Philadelphia:

van Riemsdyk-Giroux-Atkinson
Lindblom-Laughton-Konecny
Mayhew-Frost-Willman
Seeler-Cates-MacEwen

Provorov-Braun
Sanheim-Ristolainen
Yandle-York

Hart
(Jones)

Carter Hart (7-13-5, 2.9GAA, 91.1%SV) will start. He replaced Martin Jones in the most recent loss to the Sabres.

All eyes remain on Giroux (14G, 19A.) The Flyers are playing for two things: to win and what’s left of their pride. In his words, Giroux would associate this season with hitting “rock bottom.”

Lately, he’s been a beacon of light. Remember, when Giroux scores, so could Fletcher at the deadline because the captain’s stock is growing.

Nick Seeler (0G, 0A) fills in as the 4LW. A defenseman in the lineup, is it 2020-2021? It may as well be, and we know this lineup is in dire straits. Seeler isn’t a planned hybrid skater as Alain Vigneault tried with Samuel Morin.

Prediction

Ripping the band-aid off of this one, expect the losing streak to continue. With a full forward lineup, Philadelphia is winless in 2022. That shouldn’t change, especially with the lineup iced tonight.

Flyers 2, Stars 4

(Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

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