It’s the last game before Christmas, and all through the league,
Skaters are working not to get fatigued,
The Flyers are prepping, wrapping their sticks with care,
In hopes that a win in the Motor City is there…
On the road before Christmas break, the Philadelphia Flyers (18-11-3) play their second of three meetings this season against the Detroit Red Wings (15-13-4). In the first, on December 16th, the Flyers blanked them, 1-0, at the Wells Fargo Center.
Sam Ersson saved 33/33 shots on goal, and the defense blocked another 21 attempts. Cam York scored the game-winner, an emphatic pass attempt to Sean Couturier at the crease that deflected off JT Compher for an own-goal.
Before last night’s loss to the Nashville Predators, the Flyers were on a nine-game point streak (7-0-2). Morgan Frost and Couturier scored, and Ersson stopped 27/30 shots on goal. The Red Wings’ recent loss was to the Winnipeg Jets, putting Detroit on a four-game losing streak.
How to Watch
When: Little Caesars Arena, 7pm/EST.
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 93.3 WMMR
Detroit Red Wings
Patrick Kane is a Red Wing. It seems Kane is fitting into the high-test offense that ranks fifth in the NHL, averaging 3.5 goals per game.
The recent stretch of games is anything but elite offense material.
“They [the Philadelphia Flyers] were very comfortable in that one-nothing game the other day. They didn’t create a ton. They did not give up a ton. They were comfortable getting that bounce. We’re playing with good structure. We’re playing with confidence. They’re comfortable with being in a tight game. When you ask what you see in Philly; I think you saw it all when they beat us one-nothing in their building. It will be on us tonight to be a little harder in some areas.”Derek Lalonde; 12/22/2023
In the last ten games, Detroit is 3-6-1, scoring an average of 3.1 goals per game. They’re trending in the wrong direction, scoring five goals since visiting Philadelphia. Since the shutout at the Wells Fargo Center, Kane contributed in consecutive games.
Lucas Raymond is on a four-game point drought, and Alex DeBrincat appeared on the scoresheet in one of the last five games. DeBrincat leads the Red Wings in points production, and Raymond is third, but they’ve been silent.
Here’s the tentative lineup for the Detroit Red Wings, per Sam Stockton:
Shaking off a loss is much easier for this Flyers team coached by John Tortorella. The loss had a couple of silver linings, but the vital piece missing from the puzzle was the forecheck. Constantly, they failed to get pucks deep into the offensive zone and sustain pressure on the opposing goaltender. After Christmas break, the team will break down if they continue limiting plays to the transition and don’t forecheck.
Tortorella made it clear that he is expecting more from his lineup:
“This team is going to have to forecheck. When this league gets going at the end of Christmas, after the holiday, that’s when the grind starts coming in. If we think we’re going to be this high-flying transition team; spreading, stretching, and not forecheck, we’re in for a rude awakening. We found that out tonight.”John Tortorella; 12/21/2023
Carter Hart (illness) has missed the last four games, but Ersson proved a formidable backup. Ersson, who started the previous five games, went 3-1-1 with a 2.2GAA and 92.1%SV, losing to only the Nashville Predators twice. Hart last played on December 9th in a 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Overall, he is 9-6-1 with a 2.42GAA and 91.9%SV.
Owen Tippett is a driving force. He has three points (2G, 1A) in his last five games, including points in consecutive games. If he adds another tonight, he’s officially streaking.
Here is the tentative lineup for the Philadelphia Flyers:
Place Your Bets (via DraftKings)
Philadelphia Flyers (+110)
Detroit Red Wings (-130)
Lucas Raymond over .5pt (+100)
Owen Tippett anytime goal (+215)
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)