The Philadelphia Flyers are coming off of a 2 game sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins and look to continue their winning ways against Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall and the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are looking to turn around their losing streak of 0-2 and put the Washington Capitals series behind them. The Flyers will play their first back-to-back series against the Sabres and will get a days rest to travel to Boston. Welcome to the Pod Street Preview, where we take a look at the upcoming opponents over the next week.
The Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo is slated to be at the bottom of the division by many, but let’s not underestimate the skill that this team has. They went out and signed Taylor Hall to a one year, eight million “prove it” deal to compliment the skill of Jack Eichel. They also brought in veteran center Eric Staal via trade to help add center depth throughout the lineup. Adding Hall and Staal should help the Sabres with scoring depth.
Their first two games against the Capitals finished off with 6-4 and 2-1 decisions in favor of the Washington Capitals. The shining stars through their first two games are Hall and Eichel, both recording three points in two games. Would you expect anything else? The Flyers should have their hands full in holding them to no points during this back-to-back set, especially after losing Sean Couturier for two weeks due to a Costochondral separation.
Next man up mentality, the Flyers will use Morgan Frost to fill in as Couturier’s replacement and move that previously known first line down to the third line. This still gives Alain Vigneault enough depth through the entire lineup to be able to roll his lines. Philadelphia is riding a high after sweeping the Penguins for their first two games. We can all imagine the intensity that this team will come out with during these Sabres games.
The Flyers have a 56-20-12-5 overall record against the Sabres at home. Expect to see Carter Hart get the nod in the first game and Brian Elliott to start the second game against the Sabres. The Flyers haven’t met with the Sabres since March 9th, in which Carter Hart led them to their ninth win in a row. Speaking of not seeing a team since March, let’s take a look at the Bruins games this week.
The Boston Bruins
Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins haven’t seen Claude Giroux and the Flyers since March 10th, a day before the NHL shutdown due to COVID-19. In a 2-0 shutout on Tuuka Rask’s birthday, the Bruins ruined the Flyers win streak, halting it at nine. 10 months later and this series of the week is sure to be “must watch” with how last year’s matchups turned out.
The Bruins started off this season with a change of leadership after losing 14-year veteran Zdeno Chara to the Washington Capitals. Patrice Bergeron was named the 20th captain in Bruins history. They also started their regular season against the New Jersey Devils, splitting the games 1-0-1. Both games ended in either a shootout or overtime.
The Flyers played a commanding game against the Bruins last year, coming away with a record of 2-1-0. The two wins came in the shootout, one in Philadelphia and one in Boston. With the season being shortened and points mattering in every game, the Flyers and Carter Hart are going to have to do whatever it takes to win in regulation against the powerhouse of Boston.
This season will add to the ever growing rivalry that Philadelphia and Boston has always seemed to have. With eight games to play against each other, expect this series to be full of fights and goal lights. Carter Hart seems to elevate his game whenever he gets the chance to play against the Bruins. The piece that the Flyers will miss against the Bruins will be Sean Couturier as mentioned earlier. He always has a knack of shutting down the B’s superstars such as Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak.
Taking these series into mind for the Philadelphia Flyers, I can imagine them coming out of this stretch with a 3-1 record. Taking the first two games against the Sabres and eventually dropping a game against the Bruins. It will be nice to see Brian Elliott get a start and see how his training and offseason treated him. We can expect that the previous second and third lines will pick up their games with the added minutes of ice time. Flyers hockey is now in full swing and the boys look as good as they can be with a shortened training camp and no preseason games.
The Pod Street Preview will be a weekly column focusing on the upcoming games from Monday to Sunday. We intend to dissect and break down the matchups, while giving you a feel for what you can expect while watching the games. Be on the lookout for the Pod Street Preview each Monday morning here at Pod Street Bullies!
Photo Credit – Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire