Bruins vs Flyers: 5 Things to Watch (TNT)
The Flyers are 1-0-1 to start the new season that has come surrounded with a so much excitement and anticpation. Their first game came against Vancouver, where we watched them make an exciting comeback in the late parts of the 3rd period. Claude Giroux called his own bank-pass behind the goalie to tie it up, an insane play from Sean Couturier and him. We ended up losing the game in a shootout (shocker, I know), but it was still a hard-fought hockey game that we got a point out of. A damn shame a really good hockey game has to end in a skills competition.
Game 2 was a complete blow-out for the Flyers, a really scrappy, get your nose dirty type game. You had absolutely everything that’s so beautiful about hockey in one contest. The game started out with a nice flow, both teams had their chances, but you could tell both squads didn’t want to overreach their hand and make a mistake. Then, Carter Hart made an incredible diving save on Jordan Eberle and completely shifted the momentum. Thompson and Seeler getting into scraps, Farabee and Konecny finding the back of the net in 2 straight games, it was honestly a breath of fresh air to get a game like this. Cherry on-top that, Dave Hakstol got to watch.
5 things to watch for
Rasmus Ristolainen is finally making his highly anticipated Flyers debut tonight after banging himself up a little in the latter parts of training camp, causing himself to miss the first 2 games. Ryan Ellis has been an excellent addition to the team, and my fellow co-host, Danny Diemer, has even argued that he was the best defensive off-season move this summer. I think he has a pretty good case, especially considering the amount of money Ellis is locked up for ($6.25) until 2026-2027. While the jury is certainly still out on that, I think Ristolainen has a chance to be the biggest “fan favorite” moves of the off-season. The physical style of play that he enjoys to play really caters to the city of Philadelphia, we’re going to love him. Tonight will be his first time playing in-front of his new fans, and it will be against the rival, Boston Bruins. A team that has been hanging L’s over our heads for as long as I can remember, and who also love to play that physical style of play. Couldn’t think of a better team for Ristolainen to get his first game as a Flyer than Boston. Let’s go.
Sanheim – Ristolainen
I’m not going to sit here and act like I know a ton about Zack MacEwen. He’s a 6’3, 205 pound center/winger, who plays a very physical game. He sticks up for his teammates and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves. MacEwen played 34 games last season for the Canucks, scoring 1G-1A-2P in those games. He’s not going to light up the scoresheet, but he will play those 4th line minutes effectively, and does have the skill to do a little damage. With all of the fighting and physical play that happened against Seattle, I’m sure Ristolainen and MacEwen are itching to get out there and join their teammates. Ristolainen even said today he wanted to jump out there and join his teammates against Seattle during the rough stuff. Excited to see what MacEwen can bring to the line-up.
Aube Kubel – Thompson – MacEwen
A ton of different Flyers making their season debuts tonight with Jones being one of those guys. Jones gets the nod from AV for tonight’s game against Boston on TNT, with Hart presumably going Saturday at home against the Florida Panthers. Hart does seem to struggle against Boston in recently memory, so getting Jones a look with Ristolainen and MacEwen entering the lineup isn’t the worst move. You weren’t going to give Hart all 4 games at home and let Jones go into that west-coast trip without a game. Even if you gave Hart the game tonight and Jones Saturday against FLA, that would give Hart a week-long break from game action. Jones had a 3.26 GAA and a .896 sv% last season with the Sharks, so he’s looking to have a bounce back year with a better defense and team in-front of him.
Lindblom – Laughton – JVR
Couturier’s line: 7 combined points in 2 games
Brassard’s line: 9 combined points in 2 games
Laughton’s line: 2 combined points in 2 games
This isn’t me trying to be a nit-pick and find something to complain about, especially after the kind of battles the Flyers have given us these first two games, I just need more from this line. Lindblom looks back, he’s tough along the boards, winning races to pucks, I even saw him throw a guy off the puck with one hand against Seattle. Obviously it’s only been two games so it’s not time to say anything drastic, it’s just something to keep an eye on. Nobody has scored a goal yet, and with guys like Lindblom and van Riemsdyk on the line, you’d like to see some goals. We’ll see what tonight brings, like I said, nobody on the line has been playing bad, so maybe this is the night one of them breaks onto the goal sheet.
The Provorov – Ellis pairing has been everything we could’ve hoped for through 2 games. You can already see how much room Ellis gives Provorov to jump up on the play. Ellis has 1G-2A through 2 games and has been as advertised. His addition to the PP has been tremendous, along with his elite hockey IQ that just seems to calm everything down around him. Add in the ability to always get a shot through and he’s extremely fun to watch. Provorov hasn’t scored a point yet, but he’s doing everything else. From subtle plays to break the puck up, to an active stick in the corner, you name it, Provorov has done it. The chances have been coming for Provorov, and they’ll continue to come as this pair gets more games under their belts. He’s someone to look out for to finally break onto the scoresheet tonight. 2 assist game coming? We’ll see.
Mandatory Credit: Zack Hill Flyers PR