After a thrilling (read: nervewracking) 2-1 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers, it looks like well, there were some bright spots. The Philadelphia Flyers were arguably the better team on the night too. Taking on the number one power-play club and keeping the game penalty free was key. Philadelphia has a tendency to average about 4.1 penalties a game, so a game without them is *chef’s kiss*.
The win also puts them back at .500 as they face off against Nashville Predators for the second time this season. Thankfully, the Flyers won 3-1 in their last meeting. Philadelphia is 11-13-2 at home and 22-22-9 overall. Nashville is 10-11-3 in road games and has a 24-19-6 overall. A second victory at home might just be a catalyst, as they’re hosting two very different teams in a 48-hour span.
Nashville Predators (24-19-6, 5th in Central Division)
Here is the projected lineup for this afternoon’s game:
Forsberg – Glass – Duchene
Niederreiter – Johansen – Granlund
Smith – Parssinen – Sissons
Trenin – Novak – Jeannot
McDonagh – Josi
Ekholm – Lauzon
Gravel – Fabbro
Nashville was on a hot streak of three wins before they fell in their last tilt to the Vegas Golden Knights 5-1. The Preds posted a measly (for them) 17 shots on goal for the night. Captain of the Preds, Roman Josi, potted an assist in the game. He’s one of the most dangerous defensemen in the NHL, but against the Flyers in their first meeting, he was kept pointless.
Filip Forsberg leads all Predators skaters with 19 goals and 38 points. Count on him to make a strong offensive effort against the Flyers.
Meanwhile, Matt Duchene opened up the scoring. That LONE goal of the game came just five minutes into the first period. After two periods, Nashville only had SIX shots on goal.
Six. Puck possession was not a friend to the Predators on Tuesday.
Nashville, prior to the All-Star Break, was playing at a high level. In the past ten games, they’ve averaged 2.7 goals, 4.6 assists, and given up three goals per game.
Penalty-wise, they had 10 penalty minutes and averaged about 4.3 of the bad boy box moments. Vegas gave Nashville a run between the pipes. Goalie Juuse Saros made 25 saves in the loss. He’s one of the top five goalies in the lead: 2.78 GAA and a .918 save percentage with a 19-14-5 record.
Defensive miscues were the name of the game. Tuesday allowed two goals in the first, and before the first intermission, it was 3-1. An issue for the Predators (and an advantage for the Flyers) post-All-Star break is rustiness for the first 20 minutes. No cohesion on the lines, falling behind in even-strength play, and a lack of effort on the power play were all on the table. Nashville, by the way, went 0-for-1 during the power play.
Shaking off the rust is one thing heading into Philadelphia. Keeping on the rust is another.
Philadelphia Flyers (22-22-9, 7th in Metro Division)
Here is the projected lineup for the Flyers’ tilt against the Predators:
Hayes – Laughton – Tippett
Van Riemsdyk – Cates – Konecny
Farabee – Frost – Allison
Deslauriers – Brown – Braun
Provorov – York
Sanheim – Ristolainen
Seeler – DeAngelo
Justin Braun appears to have a chance at taking the ice, as the Flyers will likely opt for an 11F/7D lineup after placing Kieffer Bellows on waivers yesterday.
Philadelphia is eyeing its third win in a four-game stretch. Before the All-Star break in Florida, they soundly defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-0. A brief loss to New York Islanders before a Thursday night 2-1 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Now that we’ve relived the past, there are some bright spots that will bode well for the Flyers’ Saturday afternoon game. Veteran Kevin Hayes notched his 16th goal of the season and 30 assists for 46 points overall for the team. Noah Cates has been proving himself in the past 10-game stretch as well. The 24-year-old scored three goals and two assists in that period.
Morgan Frost is going to be another one to watch against Nashville. He showed he could have a strong two-way game against the Oilers. Five shots on goal and two takeaways while going 6-for-9 on faceoffs is not too shabby in terms of growth.
As it goes, goalie Carter Hart has continued to develop for Philadelphia. He made 35 saves and denied two out of three attempts by Edmonton during the shootout. Holding the NHL’s highest-scoring to a lone mark in the second period is a sign of improvement. The 24-year-old sits with a GAA of 2.80, a save percentage of .913, and sits with a 16-15-8 record.
One hole in the Flyers’ scheme is the slump of Travis Konecny. He’s cooled down in the past six games, not having notched a single point. Overall, in the past 10 games, he had three assists and no goals. Up till this point, he’s been having a solid season. The 25-year-old winger has 24 goals and 25 assists for 49 points. He’s been a solid part of the power play line with Hayes and Scott Laughton. Utilizing this line again would be beneficial, and for Konecny, he’s a key part of getting the offensive line moving.
The puck drop for the Flyers-Predators is at 12:30 pm at Wells Fargo Center. Catch it on NBC Sports Philadelphia.