The regular season is here as Philadelphia Flyers hockey is officially back. It will be a few days before hockey returns to the Wells Fargo Center as the Flyers first open up play on the road. To kick things off, they will be visiting the Columbus Blue Jackets. And with that, Ivan Provorov will play his former team for the first time.
This will be the first game of the season for both teams. The Flyers went 2-1-1 against the Blue Jackets last season. The two teams were fairly evenly matched as Columbus scored one more goal (16) than Philadelphia during the season series. Home ice mattered as each team was victorious in their building.
With a two-game road losing streak against Columbus, the Flyers will try to change their fortunes this evening.
There is a lot to be hopeful about for Flyers fans right now. In the midst of a rebuild, plenty of younger players will be getting a chance to be a part of the solution. Starting up front, Bobby Brink went from a dark horse candidate to make the team to the Flyers’ top-line winger on opening night. After hip surgery derailed most of his 2022-23 season, Brink impressed with his playmaking abilities and showed off a much-improved shot. He made it hard for the Flyers to take him out of the lineup as he gets rewarded right off the hop. Tyson Foerster, on the other hand, will be a healthy scratch to open the season. That doesn’t mean he won’t be a part of things at some point. It just means that Brink earned the nod over him. Foerster didn’t necessarily wow the team during preseason, but he did enough to earn a spot on the roster. He will get his chance to show that last season’s stint wasn’t a fluke.
On the backend, both Egor Zamula and Emil Andrae find themselves on the roster as well. Only Zamula will be in the lineup tonight as Rasmus Ristolainen is out with an undisclosed injury. Like with the two above, expect both to rotate in and out of the lineup depending on the opponent and how the other defensemen play. Zamula is someone the Flyers coaching staff has been very interested in and wants to see succeed at this level. Andrae, like Brink, is well-known for his puck movement and passing abilities. He showed that off throughout the preseason, making it hard to deny him a spot.
And while Carter Hart is expected to get a bulk of the starts, including tonight, Sam Ersson will get the chance to back him up. Ersson was rewarded for his play last season with a contract extension this past offseason. He backed that up with an impressive preseason, allowing just three goals on 37 shots.
Flyers Projected Lineup
Joel Farabee – Sean Couturier – Bobby Brink
Owen Tippett – Morgan Frost – Cam Atkinson
Scott Laughton – Noah Cates – Travis Konecny
Nic Deslauriers – Ryan Poehling – Garnet Hathaway
Cam York – Travis Sanheim
Marc Staal – Sean Walker
Egor Zamula – Nick Seeler
Columbus Blue Jackets
As for the Blue Jackets, they have some excitement of their own. Adam Fantilli, the third overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, will be making his NHL debut tonight. The now 19-year-old will also be celebrating his birthday as well. Talk about a great birthday present. The Michigan product impressed during the preseason with two goals and four points in four games. He also had a hat trick in Traverse City during the annual NHL Prospects Tournament. He will be a key piece to the Blue Jackets turning things around after finishing in second to last place a season ago.
Columbus also added some bodies to the backend as their blueline was decimated with injuries last season. Provorov, the long-time Flyer, and Damon Severson, the long-time Devil, had only played for one team during their careers. While the Flyers saw Severson plenty of times, it’s Provorov who they may have their eye on more. Especially after some comments he made about his time in Philadelphia. Regardless, the two veteran defensemen will also be another piece the Blue Jackets hope can mesh well together.
Blue Jackets Projected Lineup
Cole Sillinger – Patrik Laine – Johnny Gaudreau
Alexandre Texier – Boone Jenner – Emil Bemstrom
Kirill Marchenko – Adam Fantilli – Justin Danforth
Eric Robinson – Sean Kuraly – Jack Roslovic
Ivan Provorov – Damon Severson
Zach Werenski -Andrew Peeke
Jake Bean – Eric Gudbranson
Where, When, and How to Watch/Listen
Time: 7:00 PM
Where: Nationwide Arena
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 FM
Live Stream: FuboTV
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