The Flyers are definitely ready so bring on the Desert Dogs

Flyers (Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Flyers (Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /
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The last time the Flyers played the Coyotes, it was a mess. It was the third straight loss of a team that had just been on a 10-game losing streak and the second straight OT loss. After being up 2-1, the Flyers twice allowed Arizona to take a lead only to tie it back up with the Coyotes getting the final goal in overtime. That was in early December.

Since that game, the Flyers are 5-4 and riding a three-game winning streak. They have some of their formerly injured players back, they have been scoring a lot of goals lately, and it looks like they have some swagger back that they haven’t had since the beginning of the season. With the Coyotes currently 0-2 on a four-game road trip, this could be the opportunity the Flyers need to rise up and extend their winning streak.

Philadelphia Flyers

Record: 14-17-6 (35 points, 7th in Metro)

The Flyers dug themselves into a deep, deep hole going on that 10-game losing streak while other teams in the division, such as the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils, went on 10+ game-winning streaks of their own.  But as the Flyers seem to be climbing out of the doldrums, they can certainly help their case by feasting on lower-end teams.

Part of their turnaround has been the fact that they finally remembered how to find the back of the net. During their California road trip,  Travis Konecny, Noah Cates, Tony DeAngelo, and company have been scoring like crazy. This outpouring of offense, 12 goals in three games, gives Flyers fans hope that maybe they aren’t so far gone after all.

Likewise, the goaltending of Samuel Ersson has been stellar since filling in for Carter Hart. Hart has been activated and seems to be expected to play tonight against Arizona if the team feels he is ready. If not, Ersson could get the nod one more time.

If the Flyers can keep this consistency up, it’s not unfathomable to believe that they could start climbing up the standings. It’s unlikely…but hey, it could happen.

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

Nick Seeler — Rasmus Ristolainen

Carter Hart

Arizona Coyotes

Record: 13-18-5 (31 points, 7th in Central)

In an earlier preview, I said that the Coyotes were just a bad team. Then Arizona beat them because of sloppy play.  Despite, that I still stand by that comment. Whereas Philadelphia was struggling with a plethora of injuries, the Coyotes could not fall back on that as an excuse.

Since that game, the Flyers have had a lot of players return from injuries and have seen the departure of Lukas Sedlak. The Flyers are a different team with a different mentality. The Coyotes are not. They are the same team with the same struggles.

While the Flyers are trying to climb out of the bottom of the NHL in scoring (moving from 31st to 27th in a matter of weeks), the Coyotes are at 25th (just two more total goals than Philly. They have two major scoring threats: Clayton Keller, with 14 goals and 22 assists, and Lawson Crouse, with 14 goals and eight assists. Second on the team with 26 points is former Flyer Shayne Gostisbehere. The Coyotes will also go with seven defenders for tonight.

Also unlike the Flyers who have had outstanding goaltending in Hart and Ersson with serviceable goaltending from Felix Sandstrom, Arizona’s goaltending has been wretched. Their primary goalie is Karel Vejmelka who is sporting a GAA of 3.23 and a save percentage of .906, yet he has two shutouts. Backup goalie Connor Ingram isn’t much better with a GAA of 4.24 and a save percentage of .878. Translation: if the Flyers can keep their scoring going, they should be able to feast tonight.

Coyotes Projected Lineup

Clayton Keller — Travis Boyd — Nick Schmaltz

Jack McBain — Nick Bjugstad — Lawson Crouse

Nick Ritchie — Barrett Hayton — Christian Fischer

Michael Carcone — Zack Kassian

Jakob Chychrun — Shayne Gostisbehere

Juuso Valimaki — J.J. Moser

Patrik Nemeth — Troy Stecher

Josh Brown

Karel Vejmelka

Where, When, and How to Watch/Listen

Time: 7:00 PM

Where: Wells Fargo Center

Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, ESPN+

Radio: 97.5 FM

Live Stream: FuboTV

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