Pod Street Preview : Here Comes Your Philadelphia Phantoms!

Welcome to the Pod Street Preview! In what feels like an eternity since we’ve seen any Flyers hockey, we finally get to see some action from the boys in the Orange and Black. After having four games postponed after seven players were put into the COVID-19 protocol, the Flyers will look to pick up where they left off back on February seventh. Although it is a short week having their first game on a Thursday, there is still plenty of material to cover for the Flyers.

The Flyers will have a couple of new faces joining the ranks this week as Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, Travis Konecny, Morgan Frost and Justin Braun remain in quarantine. In turn, Chuck Fletcher had to make some Taxi Squad moves by adding in David Kase, Derrick Pouliot and Maksim Sushko. Here’s a look at the potential lineup that we might see this weekend : 

We can expect that Alain Vigneault is going to lean heavily on his top two forward lines to produce and play the most important minutes of the next couple of games until the regular faces are cleared to play. With Claude Giroux in COVID-19 protocol, we will see his “Ironman” streak come to a halt after 328 consecutive games played. Let’s move on to the actual games, shall we?

First Time Seeing The Rangers

After having last week’s game postponed, the Flyers will finally meet the New York Rangers for the first of eight matchups this season. The Rangers are currently riding a four game losing streak after going 0-3-1 against the Islanders, Bruins and Devils. They will be looking to turn around their losing ways as they travel to Philadelphia. 

Artemi Panarin leads the way for the Rangers in points with five goals and ten assists. New York is still waiting for Alexis Lafreniere to start developing his game to the NHL level as he has only scored a goal in all 14 games played this season. New York seems to be in full rebuild mode as they continue to sink to the bottom of the standings.

Since being off the ice since February 7th, the Flyers might look a little sloppy at first against the Rangers. The new look offensive lines will have to figure out their chemistry quickly in order to pull out a win against the Rangers. James van Riemsdyk looks to remain red hot as he is still riding a seven game point streak (9 goals, 13 assists). 

Taking the Game Outdoors

For the fifth time in franchise history, the Philadelphia Flyers are slated to take the game back to its roots and play on an outdoor rink. The outdoor games, whether it be the Winter Classic or Stadium Series, has not been kind for the Flyers. They have gone 1-2-1, getting their first win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2019 Stadium Series. 

This year’s outdoor game will be called the NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe and the Flyers will take on their biggest 2021 obstacle, the Boston Bruins. This will be the fifth matchup between the Bruins and Flyers this season and the second time they will meet in an outdoor game. The Bruins beat the Flyers at Fenway Park by a score of 2-1 in overtime (shocker, another overtime game). 

Philadelphia is hoping that they will be able to get some of their players back from the COVID-19 protocol before they have to take on the Boston Bruins this Sunday. The Bruins have become a thorn in the Flyers side, outplaying them in almost every aspect of the game recently. Alain Vigneault and the Flyers will look to stay on the winning side of the game against the Bruins during Sunday’s primetime game on NBC Sports. 

Pod Street Preview : Final Thoughts

Even with missing four games due to COVID-19 postponements, the Flyers still find themselves sitting in third place in the East Division. They are sitting four points behind the Bruins, which makes Sunday’s game even more important for the Flyers to pick up where they left off. With the Rangers dwelling at the bottom of the standings, Flyers fans shouldn’t worry about the Orange and Black finding a way to come out with a W. 

Missing names in the lineup due to COVID especially hurt this Flyers team, but the “next man up” mentality is in full swing. Having playmakers such as Giroux and Voracek or goal scorers such as Konecny and Lindblom certainly hinder this team’s ability to win games. However, there’s a reason why these players are in the NHL. Hint: they’re really good at playing hockey. The players filling those spots are fully capable of playing the game and playing the game right.

There isn’t time to throw a pity party because we’re playing without some of our biggest stars. Instead, fans have to keep their eyes on what’s at stake right now and that’s winning hockey games. This team is fully capable of beating every team in the East Division regardless of who is in the lineup. They have proved that already this season when Couturier was out for a significant amount of time and when Carter Hart forgot how to be a goaltender for a small stint. 

These next two games against the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins are going to be entertaining to say the least. Flyers fans will get to see a team with a good portion of their Lehigh Valley Phantoms players in the lineup, as well as finally getting to see some hockey! Last week’s predictions fell short, REAL short, but let’s give this week a shot! Flyers are going to polish off the Rangers with little to no effort, but they’ll definitely have their hands full with one of the NHL’s hottest teams with the Bruins. BOLD prediction : Flyers come out with 2 wins this week. The win against the Bruins will probably be in an overtime or shootout because why not?

That’s it for the Pod Street Preview. Check back with us next week for another preview for the action that lies ahead.

Photo Credit – Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

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