The Flyers are off to a 1-7-0 start, which is the worst in franchise history and has left a lot of fans scratching their heads. There were some questions coming into the season, most notably the goaltending situation, which revolved around the performance of Ray Emery and/or Steve Mason. However, this has not been an issue thus far as Steve Mason, who has started a majority of the games this season, has played outstandingly. The defensive corp came into the season as a question mark as well after last years performance, which was mainly attributed to injuries throughout the roster. Although there have been defensive breakdowns this year, they are not the main reason for the Flyers’ abysmal record. Surprisingly, the Flyers’ offense has been stagnant through the first 8 games of the season, failing to score more than 3 goals in any single game and averaging 1.38 goals per which ranks them 29th in scoring in the league.
The Flyers are coming off a week long break tonight that has allowed them plenty of time to practice and hopefully work out some of the kinks in the offensive zone. At this point it’s still easy to give them the benefit of the doubt, as they have had little time to adjust to new head coach Craig Berube’s system. The hope is that this week’s worth of practice has allowed the team enough time to mesh and become comfortable with the changes without the added pressure of having to play a game every few days.
The Flyers’ struggles have not all come from the system that is being put into place, as Giroux, Voracek, Read, and Hartnell (who remains out due to injury) have yet to tally a goal. Up and down the roster there are players who have not lived up to expectations. Simmonds has 2 points on the season and Giroux has only registered 3 assists thus far. It is understandable that players will have slumps, but lack of production across the board is very concerning.
During this week’s practices Berube mixed things up throughout the pairings. Hopefully these changes jump start the players and we see a more offensive zone production.
We can expect to see the following line combinations for tonight’s game:
The defensive pairings will remain similar to what we have seen in the last few games:
It will be interesting to see how the top line performers with Lecavalier on the wing with Giroux. The 3rd line is also very interesting with Read, Couturier, and Simmonds. It is nice to see players on Couturier’s wings that have the ability to score and put the puck on net.
The slumping Flyers are also very fortunate to be facing the Rangers tonight, another team that has been struggling just as bad. The Rangers will be without Ryan Callahan, Rick Nash, Carl Hagelin, and Henrik Lundqvist. Aside from these key player injuries, the Rangers have given up 4.14 goals per game, which is last in the league. Hopefully, the Flyers take this opportunity to find some offense because the Rangers have be very generous with goals allowed thus far.