Welcome to this week’s Pod Street Preview! The Flyers pulled out of last week’s games with a 1-1-1 record, capping off a bounce back game against the Washington Capitals on Superbowl Sunday. The Flyers will once again turn their focus to Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals to cap off their 2 game series.
They are scheduled to play on Tuesday night with a 6:00 PM start. As we learned from Sunday’s game, the Flyers will have their hands full containing the Capitals first line of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Wilson. All four goals scored by the Capitals were by that trio on Sunday afternoon. With the activation of Sean Couturier, expect him to play more significant minutes on Tuesday. Brian Elliot is slated to get the start in net instead of Carter Hart against the Capitals.
Devils Delayed in Travel to Philadelphia
The NHL released the following statement in regards to the New Jersey Devils scheduled games for the week of February 8th :
What does this mean for the Philadelphia Flyers? Well, the Flyers are now playing two games instead of 4 due to New Jersey having to add more players to their Covid-19 protocol list. This should now play in the Flyers favor as they are about to get their first elongated break between games. A four day rest after the Washington Capitals game should be plenty of time to relax and recuperate in preparation for the New York Rangers game on Sunday. Let’s take a brief look into the start of that series.
Taking the Game to Broadway
For the first time in this shortened season, the Flyers will travel to Madison Square Garden to face the New York Rangers. The new-look Rangers are now without Henrik Lundqvist who had given the Flyers troubles for years. Instead, the Rangers are riding with the tandem of Georgiev and Shesterkin.
The Rangers are riding at 4-4-2 and are currently tied for last in the division with the Devils, Islanders and Sabres. There was a lot of hype behind number one overall draft pick Alexis Larieniere, but turns out he hasn’t lived up to his expectations. In 10 games played, Lafreniere has only produced one goal.
In three games against the Rangers last season, the Flyers went 3-0-0 and outscored them 15 to six. Hopefully last years hockey team continues their domination over the Rangers as we should expect a Flyers driven game against a less experienced Rangers team.
Entering this week, the Flyers are currently tied for first place with the Boston Bruins in the East Division. Playing against the Capitals this week gives the Flyers a chance to create some cushion from third place. They should have no problems grabbing some points against the Rangers to distance themselves from the rest of the pack.
The Flyers are dealt with some more defensive core struggles as Travis Sanheim is out due to Covid-19 protocol. This happened as early as the start of the Washington/Philadelphia game on Sunday afternoon, but all players and coaches tested negative before they took the ice and ever since. Sanheim hasn’t tested positive or negative, but this still hurts the already broken defensive core.
In the past eight games, the Flyers have used different combinations for the defensive core. Opposing teams are now starting to exploit the holes that these different combinations are creating and capitalizing on them as well. With Sanheim expecting to miss at least the next four days, expect more and more different defensive pairing combinations.
Let’s make a bold prediction for this week’s slate of games shall we? The Capitals are a team that won’t take Sunday’s loss lightly. Expect a bounce back battle from the Capitals that will run into overtime. Fans can expect a strong Flyers performance against the Devils and Rangers. Your official Pod Street Preview prediction? 1-0-1.
Photo Credit – Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire