Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more intense than the battle for first with the Caps and Isles…here comes skirmish-for-sixth between the Flyers and Devils.
The Flyers and Devils will travel the turnpike and will collide with the force of a used Prius and a Barbie Power-Wheel wrangler.
Both teams have had disappointing years, and the Flyers currently have a 2-1 season series lead. The teams will face each other five times in the final nine games.
Meaningless in the grand scheme of the season…maybe.
But the mini-playoff format can re-ignite a once intense rivalry that has fizzled in recent years, starting tonight at six.
HERE ARE YOUR FLYERS/DEVILS 3 STORYLINES:
Don’t be That team
The Devils are coming off of nine straight losses.
While that doesn’t compare to the Sabres impressive 18 game winless streak earlier in the year, the Devils also have a chance to break their streak against the Flyers.
In a season of lows, the three losses to Buffalo, including a 6-1 blowout to end the losing streak against the Flyers might have been the lowest.
The cards are stacked in the Flyers favor as the Devils lost on Saturday to the Penguins so are playing consecutive days.
The Flyers had a rest day.
Four games in a row against any team can be tough, but can the Flyers not be that team that breaks the slump?
14 at 100?
At this point in the season every team and every regular player is banged up in some way. The past few games however, Sean Couturier has looked a bit…banged up.
His TOI remains in the 20-minute range. He is getting shots, he is getting his looks. Coots is still an effective player and arguably the best the Flyers have.
However in the series against the Rangers he was muscled off the puck several times, seemed to have trouble finding quality looks, and overall, just didn’t look to have the energy he usually brings.
Not insinuating anything beyond fatigue at this point but keep an eye on #14 tonight to see if he is back to the Coots we know.
The Biggest Difference Was…
The Flyers had played solid in Thursday’s 3-2 win at MSG but couldn’t hold onto that momentum. The Rangers brought the Flyers down to earth on Friday night with a 4-1 victory.
That Thursday night Flyers victory largely gets credited to Brian Elliott making some unbelievable saves early in the game to keep the score close and allow the rest of the team to wake up.
Conversely, Alex Lyon got his first scheduled start in more than a calendar year on Friday.
He looked like it was his first start in more than a calendar year…
At least two of the goals were incredibly soft for an NHL goalie. It is clear that Alex Lyon is a great soldier but will not be making the leap to NHL-regular status.
Carter Hart still doesn’t seem ready for a return (at least at the time of publishing) which leaves Elliott the likely starter tonight.
Will the Flyers get the chance to give Felix Sandstrom a look if Hart can’t go later this week?
The Flyers net is very much a work in progress, hopefully progress can be made.
Photo Credit – Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire