Flyers Preview: Oh God, They Might Win
The Flyers take on the Blue Jackets tonight, or at least the depleted facsimile of the team that signed Johnny Gaudreau in the summer. Normally, I take comfort in the knowledge that the Flyers are operating on a total talent deficiency.
But for this particular game, that is arguably not true. Oh, sure, the Blue Jackets have the best player on the ice in Johnny Hockey. They even have the second-best player on the ice in Patrik Laine. But going beyond that, there isn’t much to like about them.
Their forward depth is abominable, especially down the middle. Their once-stacked arsenal of scoring wingers has become obsolete with the loss of players like former Flyer Jakub Voracek.
Their defense corps–once buoyed by the most underrated defenseman in hockey, Zack Werenski–is now drowning in their lack of Werenski.
Their goalie is an entirely unproven prospect by the name of Daniil Tarasov. He has some talent. He’s 6’5,” and his movements in the net have the sort of preternatural efficiency that the great goaltenders have.
He’s been on a torrid run through the league of late, but this is also the first time he’s starting both halves of a back-to-back.
An unproven and unestablished netminder working on the second half of a back-to-back is facing a well-rested Carter Hart, who is still among the top-5 goaltenders in the league, according to Goals Saved Above Expected.
This has all the makings of a Flyers win. A putrid, disgusting victory after 60 minutes of horrific and cringe-inducing ECHL hockey.
This is a must-lose game.
This incompetent band of jackals must find a way to let their true selves shine and lose.
And that kind of loss is hardly beyond the Flyers’ abilities.
After all, this is the same team that found a way to lose its only appearance against the Coyotes. And lose every game prior to this one against these same Jackets.
They absolutely have the requisite talent to lose this game. They just have to dig deep.
Carter Hart is in net. That makes it more difficult, but they lose games with Carter all the time.
I just can’t have him leading any more assaults on my mental health.
The lines are as follows:
Tony DeAngelo—who has been at monumental levels of ass since October—will slot in on the second pair tonight. Presumably.
Though, Tortorella has since shrugged off the idea of numbered pairs altogether in his media availability earlier.
And to be fair, it’s rather difficult to have numbered pairs when none of your defensemen can concretely fit the role of a top-pair guy.
After his -5 performance against the Rangers, I have faith that he can continue being such a traffic cone on defense that the goals against come cheap.
One Note: Welcome back, Tank Commander Wade Allison, who is returning to the lineup for the first time in several weeks after his hip pointer and oblique injury.
Bottom Line: The Flyers can dig deep and find a way to lose this game.
But if they don’t… at least we have dates with Toronto and Carolina to look forward to. Right?
Prediction: 3-2 Flyers
Hopes: 3-2 Blue Jackets