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Flyers-St. Louis preview: Hayden Hodgson making NHL debut as Philly tries to stop road Blues

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Hayden Hodgson, Philadelphia Flyers
Hayden Hodgson is expected to make his NHL debut Thursday for the Flyers as they try to snap a 13-game road skid. Photo: Phantoms.

The Philadelphia Flyers, as you have surely noticed, aren’t exactly road warriors.

Roadkill is more like it.

They have lost 13 straight away from the Wells Fargo Center, their longest road skid since going winless in 19 straight (0-15-4) in 1971-72, Fred Shero’s first coaching season with Philly.

And the Flyers’ prospects for their next road win don’t look good as they continue their trip Thursday in St. Louis (35-18-9). Things don’t get easier on this trip, with stops in Colorado (45-14-5), Nashville (37-23-4), and Minnesota (37-20-4).

The Flyers are 20-32-11 and have a minus-61 goal differential.

This will be the second and final meeting between the teams this season. The Blues scored a closer-than-it-looks 4-1 win in Philly on Feb. 22. Craig Berube’s Blues secured the victory with a pair of empty-net goals.

Former Flyer Brayden Schenn had a goal in that game. Schenn has 42 points (18 goals, 24 assists) and a plus-21 rating in 46 games.

In 2017, the Flyers dealt Schenn for two draft picks that turned out to be Joel Farabee (13 goals, 29 points in 45 games) and Morgan Frost (two goals, eight points in 36 games). The other player the Flyers got in the deal was a St. Louis salary dump, the forgettable Jori Lehtera.

Farabee, normally a left winger, played some shifts at center in Tuesday’s 6-3 loss in Detroit.  He will start at center tonight. Why not? Experiment Season is in session.

Storylines

Is this the night the Philadelphia Flyers get their first road win since the calendar flipped to 2022?

Will St. Louis, which will be without injured defenseman Torey Krug (35 points), look past the Flyers and ahead to Saturday’s tough matchup with Carolina?

Flyers’ projected lineup

Line 1: Farabee centering James van Riemsdyk and Cam Atkinson.

Line 2:  Kevin Hayes centering Hayden Hodgson and Travis Konecny. (Oskar Lindblom is banged up and will not play.) Hodgson will make his NHL debut.

Line 3: Frost centering Max Willman and Owen Tippett.

Line 4: Patrick Brown centering one of the above wingers and Zack MacEwen.

Defense: Ivan Provorov and Cam York; Travis Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen, Keith Yandle and Nick Seeler.

Goalie:  Martin Jones.

Numbers Dept.

The Flyers are near or at the bottom of the NHL in the power play (32nd), penalty kill (26th), goals scored (31st) and goals allowed (26th).

The Blues are in the top 10 in all those categories, including power play (third at 26.3%) and goals scored (fifth at 3.55 per game).

Who’s hot?

St. Louis winger David Perron has goals in seven straight games, tallying 10 times in that span. With a goal tonight, Perron would become the third player in franchise history to have scored in at least eight straight — and the first since Brett Hull in 1991-92. Hull had a 10-game streak (14 goals) that season.

For the Flyers, Hayes has had a revival. He has four goals, seven points, and a plus-4 rating in the last five games.

Projected goalie matchup­­­

Jones (3.36 GAA, .902 save percentage) is expected to face Jordan Binnington (3.11, .903

How to watch

ESPN+ and Hulu at 8 p.m.

How to bet

Money line (FanDuel)

Flyers: plus-235.

Blues: minus-295.

Prediction

Blues 4, Flyers 2.

Prediction record: 22-7.

Breakaways

Scott Laughton was originally a possibility to play during this trip as he recovers from a concussion suffered on March 10, but he did not get great news from his last evaluation, per The Athletic, and he will be shut down longer. … Since Berube became St. Louis’ coach in 2018, the Blues have 318 points, seventh-best in the NHL. … Tonight is the first time the Flyers have played out of the Eastern time zone since Jan. 4 in Anaheim. … Schenn has three goals in six carer games vs. the Flyers.

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Superunoriginal

“Winning” the 2017 lottery seems like a curse. Given that the Flyers drafted Morin, Sanheim, and Provorov in successive drafts, and given that Patrick was the consensus favorite leading up to the draft, it makes sense the team would draft him. But jeeze, that draft probably did more to damage Hextall’s career than any other move. He sent out Schenn as a cap-saving move with the belief Patrick would come in and secure that 2C spot (and if not, hey, Morgan Frost or Rubtsov might soften the blow).

Just imagine if the Flyers kept Schenn and drafted Makar instead…

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