The Philadelphia Flyers are back in action.
Less than a week after their first meeting of the season, the Flyers face off against the New York Rangers again. Puck drop is set for at 7:00 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers (8-4-3, 5-2-2 at home) are looking for their first win after a layoff due to COVID. The Rangers (6-7-3, 3-2-1 on the road) are still toward the bottom of the East Division. However, both the Flyers and Rangers are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games.
Projected lines and pairs
The Flyers lineup is still a bit shorthanded. However, Claude Giroux returned to practice on Tuesday and is expected to play in Wednesday’s game.
Here are the projected lines and pairs for the Flyers against the Rangers:
- The Flyers are still searching for their first win since February 7th. They lost in a shootout to the Rangers on Thursday and were blown out at Lake Tahoe by the Bruins on Sunday.
- The four players on NHL’s COVID Protocol list will be unavailable: Travis Konecny, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, Jakub Voracek. Justin Braun is back off the COVID list but will not play tonight.
- Claude Giroux will return to the lineup. He missed two games, both losses, while on the COVID list.
- The Rangers will be without Artemi Panarin, who took a leave of absence due to a scary situation in Russia. Kaapo Kakko (COVID list), Filip Chytil (upper-body), and Jacob Trouba (broken thumb) are also out.
Three things to watch
1. The return of the Captain
Claude Giroux is back. The Flyers captain will certainly have a big impact on the lineup and game tonight.
Giroux will play on the second line with Kevin Hayes and Nolan Patrick. Alain Vigneault wants more out of Patrick and is hoping that this is a way to get that from him. It looks like it should be a shrewd move by Vigneault.
The captain has 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) in 13 games this season.
2. Can Elliott right the ship?
Carter Hart’s poor play in Sunday’s loss put the young goaltender under a microscope. He is having a rocky start to the season.
Brian Elliott will get the start against the Rangers. He is 3-1-0 with a .928 save percentage and 2.25 goals against average in six games. In four starts, Elliott has a .936 save percentage (117 goals on 125 shots) with just eight goals allowed. He has one 40-save shutout, allowed three goals in two starts, and two goals in one start – his only loss.
The veteran netminder has been solid behind Hart over the past two seasons. He’ll get a chance to right the ship and get the Flyers their first win in over two weeks tonight.
3. Shelter the fourth line
The Flyers got Giroux back, but they are still without four of their top-nine forwards. That leaves them with a group of bottom-six forwards that definitely could be better.
The third line (Raffl – Bunnaman Aube-Kubel) is more like a fourth line, while the fourth line (Morin – Andreoff – Twarynski) is more like an AHL line. Luckily, the Flyers are the home team and the Rangers aren’t that deep at forward, so Vigneault should be able to shelter these guys and get the matchups he wants.
The Flyers and Rangers are scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop on Wednesday night.
Photo Credit: Heather Barry Images