After a brief stop home for a triumphant 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Nashville Predators go back on the road to face the other Pennsylvania team, taking on the Philadelphia Flyers tonight.
The Preds haven’t played the Flyers since January 2019—their 2019-20 games were lost to the cancellation of the season due to COVID-19, and obviously they never met during the divisional 2020-21 season. There have been a few changes to both teams’ rosters since then, and it’s been a very rough year for the Flyers.
Former Preds fan-favorite Ryan Ellis has only played four games for the Flyers this season, missing most of the time with assorted injuries. Given that he presumably had to clear a physical to get traded, it’s hard to imagine that David Poile anticipated anything like this, but what felt like a very lopsided trade at the time hasn’t really worked out for the Flyers either.
The Preds will be missing Mark Borowiecki and Matt Benning to injury tonight, but hearing Benning described as day-to-day after the way his injury on Tuesday looked is a relief. No call-ups from the Milwaukee Admirals have yet been announced.
Over in Philadelphia, Cam Atkinson leads the Flyers with 45 points and 22 goals. Travis Konecny is the assists leader with 25 and a team-third 35 points, while leaguewide(?) trade target Claude Giroux closely trails Atkinson with 42 points and Konecny with 24 assists. The three of them are the only players with more than 30 points, and Atkinson and Giroux (with 18) are the only players with more than 15 goals.
The Flyers have combined weak offense with ice-cold finishing. Both at even strength and on the power play they’ve struggled to get to the dangerous areas of the ice, and once they’ve gotten there they’ve struggled to score. They haven’t made up for it defensively, either, allowing their opponents right up to the net at even strength as well as on the penalty kill.
Carter Hart has done better than average, though his sv% is just .911 to show for it. Without the goaltending they’ve gotten the Flyers would...well, “be worse off” feels like a strange way to describe a team that’s at the bottom of the division, but “have slightly better lottery odds” feels unkind. Backup Martin Jones hasn’t excelled either, posting a .900. Lehigh Valley Phantoms goalie Felix Sandstrom has played one game with the NHL club this season and it was a great one, but he hasn’t had the kind of season with the Phantoms that’s motivated Flyers management to bring him up full-time.
How to Watch
The game airs at 6 PM Central on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game.