Perfection is one of the hardest things to achieve. The Philadelphia Flyers rightfully should not be mentioned in the same paragraph as that word, but because of injuries, they have to be perfect throughout the entirety of a game.
Imperfect moments cost the Flyers the last three games. In Montreal, Cole Caufield scored with under two seconds remaining because the Flyers failed to clear the defensive zone in a six-on-five. Two identical turnovers versus Calgary, where the Flyers were on the short end of a two-on-one, left Travis Sanheim and Carter Hart out to dry. Then, recently, another blown coverage blew a late lead in Washington. Every night, Philadelphia has to play well above their usual expectations to have a shot, relying on stellar goaltending.
Tonight will not be any different, especially against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Speaking of the aforementioned Flames, the Penguins defeated them in a shootout to record their fourth straight win. Philadelphia hosts Pittsburgh at 5:30pm, hoping to find confidence in snapping an eight-game losing streak.
Here’s what to watch for on the Black Friday clash:
Pittsburgh Penguins (10-7-3)
Kris Letang (-9, 35HIT, 18GV, 53.8%CF) usually finds a way to make an impact versus Philadelphia. In sixty career games versus the Flyers, he’s just about done everything except secure a short-handed assist. Overall, Letang is a defenseman who does his job well: blocking shots, making hits, and being conscious of puck control. He’ll complement the forwards, especially on the first powerplay unit with Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin. It would be best for Philadelphia to keep out of the penalty box.
Starting goaltenders aren’t yet confirmed. Tristan Jarry (7-3-2, 3.06GAA, 91%SV) did start in the shootout victory versus Calgary two nights ago. Backing him up is Casey DeSmith. DeSmith has a career record of 1-2-0 against the Flyers.
Philadelphia Flyers (7-8-5)
Here’s the tentative lineup for the Flyers:
Felix Sandstrom has yet to make back-to-back starts in 2022-2023. While goaltenders are not confirmed, Hart (6-4-4, 2.68, 92%SV) seems likely to occupy the crease. In his career, Hart is 4-3-2 versus Pittsburgh. His last decision versus the Penguins was a 5-4 overtime loss in February 2022.
Nicolas Deslauriers (1G, 3A) is the catalyst. His line continues to provide energy to an otherwise depleted lineup. A mental rut is an easy trap during an eight-game skid, and Deslauriers routinely finds a way to make an impression on the fourth line with Lukas Sedlak. Keeping out of the penalty box is critical. A careful approach throughout the tilt will wear down the Penguins, and that hard style picks up with Deslauriers.
Place Your Bets
Penguins moneyline (-225)
Flyers moneyline (+190)
Kris Letang o.5pts (-125)
Nicolas Deslauriers anytime score (+850)
You can watch the Philadelphia Flyers face the Pittsburgh Penguins on TNT at 5:30pm. The radio broadcast will be on 93.3 WMMR.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)