Preview: Flyers look for first 4-0 start since 1996 against the Florida Panthers
The 3-0-0 Philadelphia Flyers continue their road trip tonight against the new-look Florida Panthers on TNT. A win tonight would be the Flyers’ first 4-0-0 start to the season since 1996 and only the sixth time in franchise history. Standing in the way of this is former Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky, who may be battling against Felix Sandstrom if Tortorella decides to rest Hart.
The last time the Flyers started 3-0-0, Scott Hartnell was the team’s leading goal scorer and Ilya Bryzgalov was the team’s No. 1 goalie.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) October 19, 2022
John Tortorella did a lot of line juggling towards the end of the game yesterday and the lines for tonight are still unclear and may be until close to game time. I will have this updated when they are released.
Not the same Florida Panthers
Florida made some major changes in the offseason in trading 100-point scoring Jonathon Huberdeau and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar for stud forward Matthew Tkachuk. If you add in the fact that they lost Giroux and it definitely feels like a different team to me this season.
Aaron Ekblad is expected to go on LTIR and miss significant time so he clearly will not be playing.
#FlaPanthers are indeed expecting to miss D Aaron Ekblad for a chunk of time on LTIR with a lower-body injury, the exact timeline TBD. But Ekblad is not expected to be out long enough to allow the Panthers to go shopping to replace him on the cap.@DailyFaceoff— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) October 19, 2022
The Florida Panthers are 100% still a very good hockey team, I just don’t think they are the trophy-winning powerhouse they were just a season ago. Going from Joel Quenneville and having him forced out abruptly to an interim Andrew Brunette that was out-coached by Tampa Bay, and now to the stern Paul Maurice who demands a ton from his players.
It feels like too many culture shocks at one time and it’s a little similar to the Flyers, except that they were good of course. Take a look at the projected Panthers’ lineup for tonight.
Player to Watch: Tony DeAngelo
Through three games Tony DeAngelo has been as good as advertised if not more. It’s early, but he’s averaging around 24 minutes a night and has 4 points in 3 games. He brings a puck-moving element to the powerplay I haven’t seen on the Flyers in years and it’s already paying off.
The Flyers have lacked a defenseman that can calmly break the puck with regularity. It’s eluded Chuck Fletcher for multiple years now, with Niskanen’s surprise retirement and Ryan Ellis being on LTIR for a decade.
This isn’t Shayne Gostisbehere, Erik Gustafsson, or even Keith Yandle. He’s a legit minute-eating puck-moving defenseman who can play in his own zone and has a high competitive level. I’ve been a fan of his early on.
Noah Cates has been a joy to watch ever since joining the Flyers last season. His go-ahead snipe in the third period last night proved to be the dagger and he garnered more praise from his coach in the media.
“I’m always looking for him on the bench” – Tortorella in his post-game presser
Tortorella praised his growth and pointed to his huge penalty kill in the third period against one of the better powerplays of all time.
I’m predicting another big game out of Noah Cates and sprinkle in some more production from Morgan Frost who helped set up the beginning of the comeback effort. Watching these young players gain confidence along the way has been the fun seeing these three wins.
I can’t pick against a Philly team right now, right?
Prediction: 4-3 Flyers (OT)
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Flyers