The mighty Edmonton Oilers are coming. The Oilers of the late 2010’s, early 2020’s are what the Philadelphia Flyers were in the mid 1990’s to mid 2000’s….a team that is loaded with talent that just can’t seem to “get over the hump”. The Oilers, just like the Maple Leafs (or in football terms, the Dallas Cowboys), are usually pre-season favorites to go all the way but somehow stumble and falter along the way. This year, they look like legitimate candidates to go all the way to the Stanley Cup finals and get destroyed by the Boston Bruins.
Record: 21-22-9 (51 points, 7th in Metro)
The Flyers are at the start of a brutal stretch of games. The schedule is not their friend. The team is also coming off a defeat to the New York Islanders where they were overmatched and came out with no energy.
And if the Flyers want to come out of this one with a win, they need more energy than just the fourth line. Kieffer Bellows scored in the last game before the All-Star break and Nic Deslauriers scored against the Isles. While that’s wonderful, the rest of the gang have to jump in too. It would be nice to see Travis Konency, Scott Laughton, Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, and James van Riemsdyk back on the stats sheet.
Moving forward, that is what is going to have to happen for this team. Over the last month, they have fought tooth and nail in every game (except the Blackhawks game). Even in the ones they lost, they were in it. With the brutal schedule up ahead, they need to bring that energy, that focus back into it. If not, you can just write the season off right now.
Flyers Projected Lineup
Hayes — Laughton — Tippett
van Riemsdyk — Noah Cates — Travis Konecny
Farabee — Frost — Allison
Nicolas Deslauriers — Patrick Brown — Bellows
Provorov — York
Sanheim — Ristolainen
Nick Seeler — DeAngelo
Record: 29-18-4 (62 points, 4th in Pacific)
They have the top rated offense in the NHL. They have 192 goals scored (which is two more than Boston) and are a blistering 31.7% on the power play to lead the league. That is four percentage points higher than the next two teams (Ottawa and Tampa). They have scored 57 goals, almost a quarter of all goals total, on the man-advantage.
And yet…..they are 20th in goals against and 23rd on the penalty kill. This is a team that is built to score on you and hope you can’t score on them. And even if you do, they will take a 5-4, 6-3 type win any day. But at some point (first round in playoffs!) it will come back to haunt them. As for right now, they are 8-2 in their last 10 games.
Leading the way is most likely MVP Connor McDavid. He has 41 goals, 52 points, and 93 points this year. That’s almost two points a game. And he still has 30 games to go! Against the Flyers, he has eight goals and 13 assists in 11 games in his career.
Along with him, there are other players to watch out for. Leon Draisaitl has 29 goals and 46 assists. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has 23 goals and 39 assists while Zach Hyman has 26 goals and 34 assists. This is a team that will come at you in waves. Hold them off with a hot goalie, and you can stand a chance.
Oilers Projected Lineup
Holloway – McDavid – Hyman
Kane – Draisaitl – Ryan
Kostin – Nugent-Hopkins – Janmark
Foegele – McLeod
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Barrie
Broberg – Bouchard
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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