Lowly Blackhawks roll into Philly to take on the Flyers

Flyers (Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports)
Flyers (Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Flyers are back at .500. They have won eight of their last ten games. Some of the wins have been against quality teams, such as Buffalo and Washington. But the losses have come against top-tier teams, such as Toronto and Boston. However, the Chicago Blackhawks are neither a quality team nor a top-tier team. If the Flyers don’t underestimate their opponent, this could be an easy win to extend their winning stretch.

Philadelphia Flyers

Record: 19-19-7 (45 points, 7th in Metro)

Philadelphia has been playing some very good hockey right now. They are balanced with good goaltending, a steady defensive unit, and a group of forwards that are starting to click.

Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny have each had hat trick games in the last few weeks. The team has also scored several shorthanded goals, as the Flyers lead the NHL in that category. They may be ranked 20th in penalty kill, but they may make you pay for it if you are on the man advantage.

Konecny is just two points away from the 50-point mark (he had 52 last season) and his next goal will be his first season with 25. All-Star Hayes is just one point away from tying his career high with the Flyers. Scott Laughton is also three points away from topping last year’s totals. And despite missing a good chunk of the season due to a broken finger, James van Riemsdyk is halfway to meeting last year’s point totals as well.

In short, during this 8-2 stretch they are on, the offense is coming alive. The veterans are leading the way, but the younger players are also picking up the slack. Owen Tippett (13) is having a career year. Morgan Frost is setting career-high numbers and Joel Farabee is starting to pick up steam again after slumping in December.

Carter Hart will get the start it net. Hopefully facing off against Chicago will help restart this week for him and he can get back to rolling strong as he started out this season. Hart has two career starts against the Blackhawks and he has won them both.

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

Carter Hart

Chicago Blackhawks

Record: 12-26-4 (28 points, 8th in Central)

A few days after playing one of the worst teams in the NHL, the Flyers are now taking on the worst team. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. It wasn’t that long ago that the Blackhawks took home three Stanley Cup titles in six seasons. But they got older and they collapsed big time. No matter how bad the Flyers have been, they haven’t been this bad. The Flyers may not be tanking, but the Blackhawks are certainly giving it a shot.

The Hawks still have Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, for now. Both are on the trade deadline block as both will be free agents this offseason. While they aren’t the same players we saw during Chicago’s great run, they still have a lot of experience and abilities they could bring to a contending team. Chicago’s price will be high, but probably not as high as they think they should be. Kane has eight goals and 20 assists while Toews has 12 goals and 13 assists this season.

Chicago’s biggest scoring threat is Max Domi, who could also be a free agent this year. (And he could be a player the Flyers should look into.) He is 27 years old and has 13 goals and 17 assists. Of course, we also remember his dad, Tie Domi, and the time he did this:

Ahhh….memories. Speaking of memories, Chicago’s top goalie this year is former Flyer Petr Mrazek. Mrazek used to have this thing where every other year was a good year. We as Flyers fans remember this. Funny thing…he had three decent, albeit injury-prone years in Carolina. That has caught up to him this year. He has an atrocious 4.17 GAA and a save percentage of .877. The fact that he keeps getting the majority of Chicago’s starts proves that the Hawks are committed to tank-a-thon-2023.

How bad are they? They are dead last in goals for, 24th in goals against, 20th on power play, and 24th on penalty kill. In comparison, the Flyers rank 25th, 19th, 29th, and 27th in the same categories respectively…and a lot of that has been moved up since they have gone 8-2 and distanced themselves from that 10-game losing streak. Likewise, the Hawks are 4-6 in their last 10 games.

This should be an easy win for Philly. However, anyone can win at any given time. While the Blackhawks aren’t shy about losing, they are still playing for a semblance of pride. The Flyers should not look past them to this weekend’s game against Detroit. Furthermore, a win tonight and a loss by Florida would put the Flyers in 10th place in the Eastern Conference and just three points by the Islanders for 9th and four points behind Pittsburgh for that final playoff spot.

Blackhawks Projected Lineup

Tyler Johnson — Max Domi — Patrick Kane

Philipp Kurashev — Jonathan Toews — Taylor Raddysh

Jason Dickinson — Sam Lafferty — Andreas Athanasiou

Colin Blackwell — MacKenzie Entwistle — Reese Johnson

Jake McCabe — Seth Jones

Jack Johnson — Connor Murphy

Caleb Jones — Ian Mitchell

Petr Mrazek

Where, When, and How to Watch/Listen

Time:  7 PM

Where: Wells Fargo Center

Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, ESPN+

Radio: 97.5 FM

Live Stream: FuboTV

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