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Carter Hart expected to return, Flyers try to finish with a winning West Coast trip

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Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers (13-13-6) play in Anaheim (17-11-7) on Tuesday night, trying to finish with a winning record on their four-game West Coast trip.

UPDATE: Shortly after 4 p.m., the Flyers announced that top-line center Claude Giroux and top-pairing defenseman Ivan Provorov were placed on the COVID-19 protocol list.

The good news is that goalie Carter Hart and center/winger Scott Laughton are off the COVID-19 protocol list and are expected to be in the lineup.

Hart said he “felt good” at practice Monday, and that he “had to shake the rust off” and that he did that.

The Flyers have used Martin Jones twice and rookie Felix Sandstrom once while going 1-1-1 on the trip.=

Jones had a great outing in a 3-2 overtime win in Seattle, then was shaky in a 6-3 loss in Los Angeles. Sandstrom, in his first NHL appearance, stole a point for the Flyers in a 3-2 overtime loss in San Jose, one in which he made 43 saves.

Storylines

Even though the Flyers’ play has been uneven and they have spent too much time in their defensive zone, the trip will be deemed a success if they can beat the Ducks and register points in eight of their last nine games.

One of the Flyers’ biggest challenges will be trying to stop the Ducks’ potent power play  (fourth in the league at 26.9%) and solving their stingy penalty kill (third at 85.4%).

How much will Anaheim miss be affected by COVID? The Ducks canceled their practice Monday as a precaution after forwards Derek Grant (a former Flyer) and Nicolas Deslauriers were placed in the COVID protocol. Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Trevor Zegras were already in the protocol.

Players must test negative twice to exit the protocol in five days.

The Flyers have Nick Seeler and Jackson Cates on the COVID list; they have two key players sidelined: center Derick Brassard and defenseman Ryan Ellis.

Projected lines

Here are the Flyers’ projected lines:

Line 1: Claude Giroux centering James van Riemsdyk and Cam Atkinson.

Line 2: Kevin Hayes centering Joel Farabee and Laughton.

Line 3: Morgan Frost centering Oskar Lindblom and Travis Konecny.

Line 4: Patrick Brown centering Max Willman and Zack MacEwen.

Defense: Ivan Provorov and Justin Braun; Travis Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen; and Keith Yandle and Kevin Connauton.

Goalie:  Hart.

Numbers Dept.

The Flyers (26th, 2.66 goals per game) are near the bottom part of the league in goals scored per game, and the Ducks are in the middle of the pack (16th, 3.00 per game).  Defensively, the Ducks are 11th in the NHL in goals allowed per game (2.71), while the Flyers are 21st (3.22).

Who’s hot

Farabee has three goals over the last four games for the Flyers.

Center Sam Carrick has three of his eight goals in the last five games for the Ducks.

Projected goalie matchup­­­

Hart (7-8-4), who has a 2.74 GAA and .918 save percentage,  is expected to make his first appearance since Dec. 16. The Ducks will go with either John Gibson (11-9-6, 2.71, .915) or former Flyer Anthony Stolarz   (6-2-1, 2.13, .932).

How to watch

NBC Sports Philadelphia will televise the 10 p.m. game.

Money line (FanDuel)

Flyers: plus-115.

Ducks: minus-138.

Prediction

Ducks 3, Flyers 2 in a shootout.

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