After winning four games in a row, the Flyers dropped an egg against the Toronto Maples Leafs. Costly mistakes hurt the Flyers as they fell to Toronto in an ugly 6-2 loss. However, there is no time to lick your wounds and recover. The orange and black travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres tonight. And if they are not ready, they could easily drop another game.
Record: 15-18-7 (37 points, 7th in Metro)
Echoing the famous line from The Godfather Part III, “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.” It seemed as if the Flyers had shaken off all the sludge that had plagued them through the year. They won four games in a row and had scored more than four goals in six of their last seven games. Things were trending upward. And then Toronto happened.
One of the storylines in the game was the benching of Tony DeAngelo. As is per his custom, Coach John Tortorella didn’t speak much on it, preferring to keep things in-house. But he didn’t need to. DeAngelo fessed up that his play was sloppy and cost the team. This is not the first time the star defender has been benched either. Let’s just hope it’s just “one of those bad nights” and he can shake it off for today.
In Sunday’s game against Toronto, the Flyers got goals from Nic Deslauriers (his second on the year) and Travis Konecny. That is the sixth straight game for TK and his 14th since Dec. 1. Only four players have more goals since then and they are the sort of players you want TK to be associated with: Tage Thompson, Alex Ovechkin, Connor McDavid, and David Pastrnak. That’s pretty good company. Maybe these are the early signs that Konecny is breaking out into the superstar we hoped he’d become. If so, then vote for him to be in the all-star game!
Either way, the Flyers better get their act together. Buffalo will not let them slide on mistakes. And after Buffalo, the Flyers face a two-game stretch against the Washington Capitals. If they can play smart hockey, this could be an important week to grab some points and move up. Six points could put them right back into contention.
Flyers Projected Lineup
James van Riemsdyk — Morgan Frost — Owen Tippett
Joel Farabee — Noah Cates — Travis Konecny
Kevin Hayes — Scott Laughton — Wade Allison
Nicolas Deslauriers — Patrick Brown — Zack MacEwen
Ivan Provorov — Cam York
Travis Sanheim — Tony DeAngelo
Nick Seeler — Rasmus Ristolainen
Record: 20-15-2 (42 points, 4th in Atlantic)
It’s been a long time since the Sabres have been relevant. Let’s be honest, they haven’t been really good since the days of Michael Peca, Dominik Hasek, and Matthew Barnaby. They have since become a farm team for the NHL, allowing some of their better players to be traded/go off as free agents to sign with other teams. Among them have included: Daniel Briere, Sam Eichel, and Rasmus Ristolainen.
The Sabres still have a long way to go, but they are turning things around. They are second in the NHL in scoring (148 goals…Boston has 154) and in power play percentage (29%…Edmonton is at 32.2%). They are 19th in goals against and 28th in penalty kill, so defense is not their strong suit. However, they are just hoping they can outscore you.
Among their resurgence is the aforementioned Tage Thompson. He scored 38 goals all of last year. Currently, he is sitting at 31; good for third in the league behind McDavid and Pastrnak. His 56 points (just 12 off his career high of 68 last year) is good for fifth in the league.
And it isn’t just him. Rasmus Dahlin has 12 goals and 32 points. Alex Tuch has 18 goals and 25 assists. Former Hurricane Jeff Skinner, who I would love to see as a Flyer, has 17 goals with 22 assists. The Sabres also have a guy named Dylan Cozens who has 13 goals and 24 assists, but he is not the same guy who used to be on the Phillies.
Sabres Projected Lineup
Jeff Skinner — Tage Thompson — Alex Tuch
JJ Peterka — Dylan Cozens — Jack Quinn
Casey Mittelstadt — Tyson Jost — Victor Olofsson
Zemgus Girgensons — Peyton Krebs — Kyle Okposo
Mattias Samuelsson — Rasmus Dahlin
Owen Power — Kale Clague
Jacob Bryson — Ilya Lyubushkin
Where, When, and How to Watch/Listen
Time: 7:00 PM
Where: Key Bank Center
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, ESPN+
Radio: 97.5 FM
Live Stream: FuboTV
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