Pod Street Preview : Battling The Empire State

    Welcome to the Pod Street Preview! Looking to put the NHL Outdoors Lake Tahoe game behind them, the Philadelphia Flyers shift their focus to the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres. Still having five players that are in the COVID protocol, the Flyers were gifted with some good news as captain Claude Giroux returned to practice on Tuesday morning. Giroux is currently a game-time decision for the Rangers game, but “G” appeared to be excited and refreshed to be back on the ice. 

Alain Vigneault continues to experiment with the lines as he moves Patrick and Giroux to the second line centered by Kevin Hayes. Still missing a majority of their top nine players due to the COVID-19 protocol, the fourth line during Tuesday’s practice consisted of Twarynski, Andreoff and Sushko. Hopefully, by the time they travel to Buffalo, the roster will be back to normal and back into the groove of things. Speaking of getting back into the swing of things, let’s preview the upcoming games for the Orange and Black.

Wednesday Night Rivalry : Broadway Back on Broad Street

Less than a week after the 3-2 shootout loss to the Rangers, the Flyers will once again get another crack at getting back on the winning side of things. In a game that previewed a roster that was filled with AHL talent, the Flyers somehow came away with a pity point. Under normal circumstances and having a healthy roster, this team should be running over the Rangers night in and night out. 

Some notable changes for the Rangers coming into this game is leading point scorer Artemi Panarin is currently taking a leave of absence from the team. In his absence, the Rangers will look to Mika Zibanejad to start producing after he has had a slow start to his season. After a hot season last year, Zibanejad has only posted four points in 16 games this season. The Rangers will look to Igor Shesterkin to man the crease as he has posted a 4-5-1 record this season. The Rangers will also be missing some other notable players to their lineup as well:

After the poor outing at Lake Tahoe, Carter Hart will ride the pine for this Wednesday Night Rivalry game, with Brian Elliott getting his fifth start of the season. With the experience of Brian Elliott in net, the Flyers should put together a decent team game against the Rangers. If Claude Giroux plays, expect a big game from him as he hasn’t played a game since the Washington Capitals game on February 7th. 

Shipping Up To Buffalo, Woah

Capping off the week and the month for the Philadelphia Flyers, they will travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres in a weekend back to back series. Both games will be played in the afternoon and will be sure to make some good hockey. The first two tilts between the Sabres and the Flyers saw a split in wins. There isn’t much brewing between the two clubs as they don’t have much of a history amongst them. 

Seeing as these games are back to back, expect for the goaltending duties to be split between Hart and Elliott. Buffalo is currently plagued with some injuries and lineup drama as Jeff Skinner has been healthy scratched for the second straight game. Jeff Skinner is another player that hasn’t been able to find stride this season as he has only recorded a point in 14 games. 

The Sabres are being predominantly carried by their first line of Victor Olofsson, Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart which has combined for 37 points between the trio. The Flyers shouldn’t have any trouble shutting down that first line with Sean Couturier being back in the lineup, who missed the first two matchups against the Sabres

Final Thoughts

Since the NHL Outdoors game, Flyers fans have had a sour taste in their mouth and need some redemption this week against the Rangers and the Sabres. Both teams are the bottom dwellers of the East Division with the Flyers flirting with the playoff line. If Vigneault and the Flyers want to gain some ground, this week is the week to win some games in regulation and not allow any overtime/shootout pity points.

Taking advantage of a New York Rangers team that is missing their top point producer should be no problem for these Flyers as long as they play their game. Buffalo has already proven that they can be a good team, but they are now proving that they belong in last place – where many believed they would be when the season started. It would be really sweet to see the Flyers go on a winning streak after losing so badly to the Bruins on Sunday. 

That’s it for the Pod Street Preview. Be sure to check back with us after each game for the Pod Street Postgames, and next week for a brand new Pod Street Preview.

Photo Credit – Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

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