It really feels like a year in between every Flyers game these days.
I say that, but know that the Flyers head into Wednesday on the first leg of a back to back in Western Canada. After coming off a well fought loss to the Panthers, the Flyers are set to face off against one of the NHL’s hottest teams, the Edmonton Oilers.
Frankly, this one worries me. The Flyers haven’t exactly shown an improved ability to keep the puck out of the net. They let up 4 against Vancouver, 3 against Boston, and 4 (1 empty net) against Florida. Yes, they only let up 1 to Seattle, but I’m discounting that one on the fact that Seattle doesn’t exactly have any elite offensive talent (sorry Eli).
I say all this to mentally prepare myself for the Flyers to handle one of the greatest offensive talents we’ve seen this century, Connor McDavid. Sitting at 13 points in 5 games, he literally keeps getting better despite putting up over 100 points in less than 60 games last year. Add to that the fact that the Ryan Ellis won’t be playing, and that the Oilers have been playing some lights out hockey so far, and the Flyers are in for a problem. Realistically, I think Carter Hart struggles, and the Flyers drop the game to Edmonton. Who knows though, I could be wrong.
If the Flyers are to win more than one game on this road trip, it’s going to come down to the offense. These games won’t be won 1-0 or 2-1, no. The winner in these games is scoring at least 4 goals. Luckily, the Flyers have a dynamic top 6 to start the year, highlighted by the Joel Farabee and Cam Atkinson pairing. That pairing has been electric to start the year, and the two clearly feed off each other. If the Flyers are going to have any shot against the Western Canada teams, those two, along with Giroux and Konecny, need to get on the scoresheet often.
After the Oilers, the Flyers follow it up tomorrow night against Vancouver, hoping for a little revenge after the Canucks spoiled their home opener. Martin Jones gets the nod in his 2nd start for the Orange and Black after a rather ok showing against Boston. This game feels like the one the Flyers have the best chance of winning, or at the very least getting a point out of. If Ellis is back then expect Vancouver’s top point getters to stay quiet, and the Flyers to come out with a win.
Lastly, the Flyers take on the red hot Flames. Calgary is on a hot streak, and seems to be contributing by committee. The Flyers’ bottom six is, at best, ok. In an ideal scenario, the Flyers’ bottom six outplays Calgary’s. I’m convincing myself that the Flyers’ top 6 forwards can outperform that of Calgary. While Gaudreau, Monahan, and Tkachuk can terrorize opposing teams, the Flyers’ top forwards are incredibly underrated and will put up a hell of a fight.
Final prediction is an underwhelming 1-1-1 performance on this trip. It just kind of has that feel to it. I’m not so much looking at the record in this one so much as I am how well Carter Hart plays. Not to sound like a broken record, but the entire season really does rest on his shoulders. At the end of the day, let’s go Flyers.