The Philadelphia Flyers kick off a three-game set against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.
The Flyers will be in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins tonight, Thursday night, and Saturday afternoon. It’s the start of a crucial stretch for the Flyers to begin March.
Tonight will be the first game that the Flyers have no players on the COVID list for since February 5th against the Bruins. Travis Konecny was removed from the list on Sunday and will play tonight.
The Flyers (11-4-3, 8-4-2 on the road) have the best point percentage in the division. The Penguins (11-8-1, 7-1-0 at home), on the other hand, are currently not in a playoff spot. They sit at fifth in the division behind the Flyers, Bruins, Capitals, and Islanders.
Projected lines and pairs
The Flyers lineup is now fully healthy. There is an interesting change with Konecny returning, however.
Here are the projected lines and pairs for the Flyers against the Penguins:
Nicolas Aube-Kubel is the healthy scratch with Konecny returning. The Flyers will likely stick with the same defensive pairs as Sunday, meaning that Erik Gustafsson is the healthy scratch on the blue line.
- The Flyers won both matchups against the Penguins so far this season. They won the season opener 6-3 and Konecny’s hat trick led them to a 5-2 win in their second game.
- The Flyers are looking for their second four-game winning streak of the season.
- The Flyers went 1-1-1 against the Penguins last season.
- Sidney Crosby will miss tonight’s game after being placed on the NHL COVID Protocol list this morning.
Three Things To Watch
1. Can Konecny continue COVID returner trend?
The Flyers have been a bit spoiled recently with performances from players coming off the COVID list. Claude Giroux returned with a three-point night on Wednesday. Then, Justin Braun played well and the COVID line of Oskar Lindblom, Scott Laughton, and Jakub Voracek combined for a great goal in Saturday’s game.
Konecny will be on the fourth line to start tonight’s game, but if he gets going it wouldn’t be surprising to see him moved up the lineup. He always loves playing the Penguins and already has a hat trick against them this season.
2. Will fans bring the energy?
The Flyers will have fans back at home games starting on Sunday, and they’ll be playing in front of fans for the first time this season tonight. The Penguins have a limited capacity of 2,800 fans for games.
It’ll be exciting to see how playing in front of fans is. The Flyers have thrived playing at PPG Paints Arena and seem to feed off the negative energy at times. If they can get a lead, they might hear the silence from the crowd that they’ve been used to this season.
3. Hart looking for consistency
It’s no secret that Hart has had his ups and downs this season. He’s bounced back from a few bad losses with strong performances, including a shutout on Sunday.
Hart started both games against the Penguins this season, making 62 saves on 67 shots (.925 SV%) in two wins. If Hart can find his game and go on a run, the Flyers will likely follow suit.
The Flyers and Penguins are set for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop on Tuesday night.
Photo Credit: Heather Barry Images