Samuel Ersson gets the call as Flyers face the Sharks

Flyers (Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
Flyers (Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Flyers are on a five-game road trip. After dropping two games in Toronto and Carolina, the Flyers are taking their talents to California after the Christmas holiday break. First up are the San Jose Sharks.

It wasn’t that long ago that a Philly-San Jose battle could be seen as a possible Stanley Cup final matchup. Sadly, the fortunes of both teams have changed and both teams have fallen on hard times. Will the Flyers find that the Sharks have lost their bite or are the waters in San Jose still too dangerous to go swimming? However, this is the same San Jose team that defeated Philly earlier this season and caused Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny to be benched.

Philadelphia Flyers

Record: 11-17-7 (29 points, 7th in Metro)

Samuel Ersson will get the start in net tonight. Had Carter Hart not gotten injured, Ersson would probably be back with the Phantoms right now. Hart got injured after coming in for Ersson in Ersson’s NHL debut against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes hit him up for five goals on 22 shots in just under 28 minutes. Then Hart when in and got hurt when Rasmus Ristolainen shoved Seth Jarvis into Hart’s head.

Ersson returned to the game and blocked the remaining eight shots he faced as the team rallied around him and almost came back. His resilience and calmness after going back into the game against the first-place team in the Metro showed what he can do. So, the Flyers are giving him another shot against a team that is not as difficult to face.

During the game against Carolina, the Flyers scored five goals in a losing effort. Travis Konecny and Scott Laughton each led the way with a goal and an assist; both goals being shorthanded.

Morgan Frost stayed hot picking up an assist and Joel Farabee also notched a point. Cam York also picked up an assist and has contributed a lot since being called up. Despite losing three of their lost four games, the Flyers have scored three or more goals in each of their games. Maybe they are finally finding their scoring touch.

Philadelphia Flyers Projected Lineup

Joel Farabee — Noah Cates — Travis Konecny

James van Riemsdyk — Morgan Frost — Owen Tippett

Kevin Hayes — Scott Laughton — Wade Allison

Nicolas Deslauriers — Patrick Brown — Zack MacEwen

Travis Sanheim — Tony DeAngelo

Ivan Provorov —Cam York Rasmus Ristolainen

Nick Seeler — Rasmus Ristolainen

Samuel Ersson

San Jose Sharks

Record: 11-19-6 (28 points, 7th in Pacific)

Whereas the Flyers can rightfully point to the all-star roster residing on the injured reserve list all season, the San Jose Sharks can’t do that. They are just a bad team. The interesting thing is, they have some good players.

Timo Meier, who is an RFA at the end of this season (hint hint Chuck Fletcher!) is tied for 10th in the NHL with 20 goals. Erik Karlsson, a highly-paid defender at $11.5 million a year, is leading the team with 48 points; which is good for sixth in the league and tops all defenders. Tomas Hertl has 11 goals and 21 assists while Logan Couture has 14 goals and 15 assists.  After that, the Sharks aren’t really strong.

One player of note will be facing off against Philly. Fan favorite Oskar Lindblom will play against his former team again. He has two goals and four assists this year.

The goaltending in San Jose is atrocious this season. Overall. the Sharks are 30th in goals given up despite having the second-best penalty kill in the league. James Reimer sports a 7-10-3 record this year with a 3.14 GAA and a save percentage of .898. His lone shutout was the one against the Flyers in October. Kaapo Kahkonen, the backup, is 3-7-2 with a GAA of 3.83 and a save percentage of .872.

If there is any game that the Flyers could/should use to spark an offensive turnaround, this should be it.

San Jose Sharks Projected Lineup

Timo Meier — Logan Couturer— Alexander Barabanov

Matt Nieto — Tomas Hertl — Kevin Labanc

Nick Bonino — Nico Sturm — Evgeni Svechnikov

Oskar Lindblom —Steven Lorentz — Noah Gregor

Jaycob Megna — Erik Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic — Matt Benning

Scott Harrington — Mario Ferraro

Kaapo Kahkonen

Where, When, and How to Watch/Listen

Time: 10:30 PM

Where: SAP Center

Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, ESPN+

Radio: 97.5 FM

Live Stream: fuboTV

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