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Flyers Notes: Mismatch in Boston; Philly Needs O from its Defense

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Travis Sanheim, Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers need D-man Travis Sanheim to get more involved in the offense. They play the sizzling Bruins on Thursday.

On paper, this is the Philadelphia Flyers’ greatest mismatch of the young season.

In one corner is the Flyers, who are 7-6-3 and near the bottom of the NHL in goals scored per game (2.56, 29th), faceoffs (45%, 31st) and the power play (17.3%, 26th).

In the other corner is Boston, which is 14-2 and off to its best start in over 90 years. The Bruins are at the top of the NHL in goals per game (4.00), goals allowed per game (2.19), and on their  penalty kill (91.7%). They are second in the league in faceoffs (57.1%).

The teams will meet Thursday in Boston’s TD Garden at 7 p.m. (NBCSP).

The Philadelphia Flyers have lost four straight, while Boston has won four in a row and 11 of its last 12.

Yes, it’s easy to understand why the Bruins are heavily favored — they are minus-340 on Fan Duel’s money line.

New Bruins coach Jim Montgomery, who had been interested in the Flyers job, said the he doesn’t want his team to get complacent, doesn’t want them to get too comfortable.

He said he wants his team to stay hungry and keep improving.

“Learning how to get better while you’re having success … is hard,” he said. “We have to make sure we don’t get blind spots and we’re being analytical and critical of our own game — and seeing where we need to grow.”

So don’t expect a letdown against the injury-plagued Flyers.

Pick: Boston, 5-2.

Needed: Defensive scoring

With key forwards Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson, James van Riemsdyk, and Wade Allison injured, the Flyers are weak up front.

It would help if the defensemen chipped in with more goals.

Four defensemen — Travis Sanheim, Rasmus Ristolainen, Justin Braun, and Egor Zamula — have yet to score, and Ivan Provorov has just one goal.

Tony DeAngelo (three goals, nine points) has been the team’s most offensive defenseman. Nick Seeler has chipped in with two goals — that equals his career high, set in 71 games with Minnesota in 2018-19 — and has six points and a plus-6 rating.

Game notes

  • John Tortorella, a Boston native, is aiming for his 1,400th win as an NHL coach, and Chuck Fletcher is going for his 500th victory as a general manager.
  • All time, the Flyers are 76-103-21-12 vs. Boston.
  • Travis Konecny has a career-best, seven-game point streak. He has 13 points (6-7) in 22 career games against the Bruins.
  • Carter Hart, who has dipped in recent games, still has a solid 2.42 GAA and .929 save percentage. He has not fared well in his career against the B’s: a 4-5-2 record with a 3.69 GAA and .883 save percentage.
  • Patrice Bergeron (23 goals, 50 points in 61 games), Brad Marchand (17 goals, 45 points in 45 games), and David Krejci (41 points in 47 games) have feasted on the Flyers.
  • Goalie Jeremy Swayman is working his way back from an unspecified injury. There’s a chance he returns against Philly.  Linus Ullmark has been brilliant for the B’s, going 11-1 with a 1.96 GAA and and .936 save percentage.

Breakaways

The Flyers have faced a 2-0 deficit in eight of their 16 games. … Boston leads the NHL in goal differential (plus-30). … Bergeron has four goals in his last four games. … After Thursday’s game, the Flyers will play Saturday in Montreal.

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