Sunday Night Hockey: Flyers at Devils Preview
It’s time for some Sunday night hockey. The 8-7-4 Philadelphia Flyers head into New Jersey looking to snap their 5-game losing streak. The 8-6-4 New Jersey Devils return home after suffering a 4-2 loss on Black Friday to the Nashville Predators. You can catch the game on at 7pm on NBCSP.
Martin Jones will get the nod tonight. Jones is currently 3-2-1 on the season with a 2.67 GAA and a .927 SV%. He’s actually coming off a pretty solid game, giving how brutal the team around him was against the Florida Panthers. I’ve said this in what seems like every preview article this year, but the goalies have kept this team in way too many games, it’s absolutely ridiculous.
According to AV, C Nate Thompson got an MRI on his shoulder, and expects the C to be out a while with a dislocated shoulder. The Flyers have been smacked by the injury bug and are now without Kevin Hayes, Derick Brassard, and Nate Thompson at the center position.
With Thompson set to miss an extended period of time, Max Willman gets the call-up again. Willman had 0G-0A in 6 games with the Flyers in his short stint this season. He’ll play on the 4th line tonight alongside Connor Bunnaman and Zack MacEwen.
Projected Flyers Line Up vs the New Jersey Devils
Claude Giroux – Sean Couturier – Travis Konecny
Joel Farabee – Morgan Frost – Cam Atkinson
Oskar Lindblom – Scott Laughton – James van Riemsdyk
Max Willman – Connor Bunnaman – Zack MacEwen
Ivan Provorov – Rasmus Ristolainen
Travis Sanheim – Nick Seeler
Keith Yandle – Justin Braun
If it holds true, and Oskar Lindblom is really free from the 4th line, it’s about damn time. I said it before, how do you look at a guy struggling to put up points and find himself offensively, and then proceed to throw him on the 4th line? You’re asking for the struggles to keep on continuing.
I love the way the Farabee – Frost – Atkinson line has been playing since Morgan got the call-up. Frost picked up his first point of the year on the Rasmus Ristolainen goal to make it 3-2 Flyers, I’m really looking forward to see what that line can do as they get more and more comfortable. Atkinson and Frost had another slick play on the power play where Atkinson rung one off the post after Frost fed him. Look for that line to keep building on their chemistry tonight.
Speaking of the power play, it hasn’t improved in the slightest. In the last 5 games, they have gone 1 for their last 13. I’ve seen a little bit of talk on the timeline talking about throwing Ristolainen on the first unit, and I can’t say I’m against it. At this point, I’m okay with them trying almost anything to try and find some sort of rhythm.
If Blackwood gets the nod, it won’t be an easy task for the boys. Blackwood is 6-0-2 all-time against the Flyers, and is currently 3-1-2 on the season with a 2.84 GAA and a .922 SV%. It’ll be just the Flyers luck to finally come out and put together a solid game, only to have the door slammed shut in their face by Mackenzie Blackwood. I can feel it in my bones.
Like Travis Sanheim said in his post-game interview after that embarrassing effort at home against the Hurricanes. You can point to the loss of Hayes and Ellis, but even if they were both healthy and in the line-up, the Flyers need to better as a whole.
Why have the Devils gone 8-6-4 without Jack Hughes? Why do the Penguins never seem to miss a beat when they’re without Crosby and Malkin? The Capitals have been without Backstrom this season. Any team can point at injuries and feel sorry for themselves, the Flyers need to be better.
Lets see if they can snap this ugly 5-game losing streak tonight.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images