After coming off an embarrassing week against the Sabres and Bruins, the Flyers look to focus their energy on the Devils and Islanders. Coming out of the four-game series with Buffalo and Boston, Philadelphia snuck away with a measly three points out of a possible eight. Starting the week off, the Flyers led the league and have now been leapfrogged by the Bruins and Capitals. Every point matters in an already tight East Division, especially with the Devils and Islanders right on the Flyers’ doorstep.
Pod Street Preview: Flyers Face Devils & Islanders
Couple Days Rest to Prepare for Devils
The Orange and Black got handled shellacking while they were in Beantown, and now they get a couple of days’ rest in between their next series with the Devils. When they get back to Philadelphia, the goal is to regroup and refocus before retaking the ice. The series against New Jersey is just a small drive up the turnpike to Newark.
The young guns of the Devils have been the difference-makers for their early success this season. Rookie defenseman Ty Smith has registered a point through his first five games of the season. If he is to register another point in tonight’s matchup against the Flyers, he will tie Marek Zidlicky for the league record in consecutive games for a rookie. Philadelphia has another young gun to worry about in the Devil’s lineup as well.
Jack Hughes is gearing up for an exciting year after putting together some impressive games to start the season. He is currently leading the Devils in goals (3) and points (7). Hughes has finally emerged as the Devils’ top scorer, and the Flyers will surely have their hands full now as well in the future with this 19-year-old.
Expect a backup goaltending matchup between the Devils and Flyers with Carter Hart stuck in a funk and Mackenzie Blackwood being placed in Covid-19 Protocol last week. Brian Elliott has started one game for the Orange and Black in which he blanked the Sabres for a 40 save shutout win. Devils’ backup netminder, Scott Wedgewood, has posted a 1-1 record against the New York Islanders. His latest start earned him a 28 save shutout.
Second Round Playoff Rematch
For the first time in almost five months, the Flyers will begin another series against their Second Round Playoff ousters, the New York Islanders. If you didn’t watch their second-round exit against the Islanders, you weren’t missing much. In fact, if you have been watching the Flyers the past few weeks of this regular season, you probably have a good idea of how their series against New York went.
The Islanders have played some decent hockey coming off of their Eastern Conference Final exit, starting this season off with a 3-1-0 record, just a point shy of the Flyers coming into this week. They were looking to remain perfect in the W column until the Devils shut them out in the series’s last game. They have found scoring from up and down the lineup, especially from recent free agent signing Matthew Barzal, who leads the team in 4 points.
Expect the Flyers to play with a vengeance against this New York Islanders team after getting their you-know-what’s handed to them in that playoff series last summer. Look out for Captain Claude Giroux and leading points leader Travis Konecny to come out firing against the Islanders to reclaim some honor of what they left out on the ice back in Toronto. By the time the Islanders meet up with the Flyers, they would have only played six games compared to the Flyers eight, and depending on how the Flyers play during the New Jersey series, they should be able to have the upper hand against the Islanders.
If you had paid attention to Flyers Twitter yesterday, there was a certain buzz about yesterday’s morning skate. Shayne Gostisbehere was cleared from his Covid-19 Protocol and was back on the ice with the rest of the team.
It looks like “Ghost Bear” should be slotting in the lineup against the New Jersey Devils on the top defensive pair with Ivan Provorov. Replacing Erik Gustafsson on the blueline, expect Ghost to help the Flyers’ defensive game – but do not expect him to fix the entire problem.
Sean Couturier, Phil Myers, and Nolan Patrick were all found on the opposite ice, putting in some skill work. This is good news for Flyers fans because Couturier and Myers are closer to being healthy and playing with the team.
The Flyers will most likely have a hard time this week against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders, but we can expect that Alain Vigneault has made a statement to his players that they need to play better. No prediction will be made about this week’s games’ outcomes due to last week’s prediction being utterly embarrassing. Let’s expect the Flyers to have a bounce-back week, make better defensive plays, and get better together as a whole team.
Photo by Nicole Fridling/Icon Sportswire