Stringing two wins together feels good, no matter the context of the season. Last night, the Philadelphia Flyers stood toe-to-toe with their in-state rival on home ice. A victory, 4-1, called for the first back-to-back wins since March 8th, 2022 (vs. CHI, vs. VGK.)
Prospects ruled the roost. The Flyers’ youth had their fingerprints on every scoring play. Noah Cates (2G, 1A), Morgan Frost (1G, 1A), Owen Tippett (1A), and Linus Hogberg (1A) all appear on the stat sheet in the decisive victory. Defensively, Yegor Zamula and Ronnie Attard impressed. Philadelphia seemed more conscious of their spacing in the DZ, helping Martin Jones earn the win.
Tonight, the Flyers hope to string three wins together on a back-to-back. A win tonight in Chicago would be the first on back-to-back nights since Mike Yeo’s first two as the interim head coach.
Chicago Blackhawks (26-42-11; 63pts)
Mackenzie Entwistle (shoulder,) Kirby Dach (shoulder,) Jujhar Khaira (back,) and Connor Murphy (concussion) will not be available. They rank seventh in the Central Division and are on a two-game losing skid.
Here’s the projected lineup for the Chicago Blackhawks:
Kevin Lankinen (6-15-6, 3.62GAA, 88.7%SV) will likely start. He started in San Jose to a 4-1 losing decision. Lankinen has never defeated the Philadelphia Flyers.
Alex DeBrincat (40G, 36A) gets the opposing spotlight. He is sour grapes for many Flyers fans. Instead of selecting DeBrincat in 2016, Philadelphia took Pascal Laberge three picks ahead. With a point, DeBrincat could set a new career-high.
Philadelphia Flyers (25-43-11; 61pts)
Cam Atkinson (lower body,) Patrick Brown (upper body,) Kevin Connauton (lower body,) Cam York (lower body,) Rasmus Ristolainen (upper body,) Nick Seeler (lower body,) Carter Hart (lower body,) Sean Couturier (back,) and Ryan Ellis (lower body) are all unavailable. On a two-game winning streak, they’ll try for their first three-game winning streak since defeating the New Jersey Devils on December 14th, 2021.
Felix Sandstrom (0-2-1, 3.29GAA, 91.5%SV) could start considering the back-to-back schedule. His last start was a 5-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Sandstrom never faced the Chicago Blackhawks.
Cates (5G, 4A) is the streakiest of all the forwards in the lineup. Following his performance last night, he earned the spotlight. Yeo orchestrated a youth line to spearhead a youth movement. Performances like last night make winning meaningless games very meaningful.
Alex DeBrincat anytime goal (-115)
Noah Cates anytime goal (+340)
PHI o6.5 (+300)
Correct Score Prediction (+1300): Flyers 4, Blackhawks 3
(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)