How ugly could this one get? Flyers at Penguins Preview
Interim head coach Mike Yeo leads his (15-24-8) Philadelphia Flyers into Pittsburgh to take on the (30-11-8) Penguins. Derick Brassard, Gerry Mayhew, and Rasmus Ristolainen will all be out of the lineup with injuries. Morgan Frost and Jackson Cates are back with the big club as the Flyers look to hand the Penguins their first loss since the All-Star break. You can catch the game at 7 pm on NBCSP.
Carter Hart will get the nod tonight as he looks to keep Sidney Crosby from potting the 500th goal of his career. Hart is currently 9-16-5 on the season with a 2.89 GAA and a .911 SV%.
I like that Hart is getting a lot of looks here recently, but where’s Martin Jones? In a season that’s pretty much dead at this point with no hope for the playoffs, you’d think they’d want to showcase Jones a little more than they have. He’ll be a trade chip that Chuck will look to get something for as the deadline slowly approaches (March 21st).
Kevin Hayes, Patrick Brown, Rasmus Ristolainen, Joel Farabee, and Tyson Foerster were all on the ice this morning rehabbing their injuries. Yeo made it clear that Patrick Brown and Kevin Hayes aren’t close to returning, it’s more about getting them some conditioning at this point.
The decision on Kevin Hayes will be made on March 1st according to Mike Yeo. There, they’ll decide whether he’s good to go or will need more work.
Gerry Mayhew suffered an upper-body injury against Detroit on Saturday and will not be in the lineup. The Flyers were hopeful that Mayhew could go tonight but according to Yeo, his eye is still swollen.
Morgan Frost is back with the Flyers after getting called up yesterday after the Derick Brassard news broke. Frost was sent back to the Phantoms before the All-Star break with Cam York and had a goal and an assist in his first game back.
Frost went scoreless in his next two games, missing a game in between due to a non-COVID illness. He did however score the game-winning goal on Sunday against Hershey, deflecting a point shot to give his team the lead.
Frost will center the third line tonight with Max Willman on one of his wings. Hayes/Brown were the players on his other wing during practice, but neither player is ready for game action, so we’ll see what Mike Yeo does.
Jackson Cates was called up to accommodate the issue, but I’d much rather see them bump Isaac Ratcliffe up and plop Jackson Cates on the fourth line with Connor Bunnaman and Zack MacEwen.
Like I said at the beginning of this preview, Carter Hart has the honor of trying to hold Sidney Crosby off the goal sheet and keep him from scoring number 500 of his career. With the way this season has unfolded it almost feels inevitable at this point, so I’m currently gearing up to hear that ugly goal horn blast as Crosby celebrates with his teammates.
Crosby currently has 13G-31A-44P in 37 games so far this season, with his Penguins currently sitting 1st in the Metropolitan division with 68 points.
Flyers Projected Lineup vs the Pittsburgh Penguins
Oskar Lindblom – Claude Giroux – Cam Atkinson
James van Riemsdyk – Scott Laughton – Travis Konecny
Max Willman – Morgan Frost – Issac Ratcliffe
Jackson Cates – Connor Bunnaman – Zack MacEwen
Ivan Provorov – Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim – Nick Seeler
Keith Yandle – Kevin Connauton
Struggles continue after All-Star break
Claude Giroux was able to get away from this tire fire for a little bit with his trip to All-Star weekend, winning the game MVP and a brand new car. Since his return, the Flyers have been outscored 10-5 by the Detriot Red Wings.
The power play was 1 for 8 in those two games, looking just as depressing as they have all season. With Morgan Frost back in the lineup, he’ll slot into the 2nd unit on the left wall with Scott Laughton on the opposite wall.
PP1: Giroux (left-wall), JVR (net-front), Atkinson (right-wall), Konecny (slot), and Provorov (point)
PP2: Frost (left-wall), Ratcliffe (net-front), Laughton (right-wall), Lindblom (slot), and Yandle (slot)
Usually, when the Flyers are as big of underdogs as they are right now heading into a battle in Pittsburgh, I’d be hammering the ML without any questions. Now, I admittedly have zero confidence they can go in there and win.
The Flyers are currently +260 on Parx Sportsbook to beat the Crosby lead Penguins tonight in their building. If you’re like me and have no confidence that’ll happen, Crosby’s odds to score his 500th is currently at +128.
Mandatory Credit: Zack Hill - Flyers PR / Flyers Twitter