The Philadelphia Flyers look to continue their decent start to the season. They opened the season with a win over the Los Angeles Kings and then lost in overtime to the Arizona Coyotes. They took three of four possible points in what were the opponents’ home openers.
On Tuesday night, they’ll take on the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. Philadelphia will then come home to play host to the Anaheim Ducks in the Flyers home opener. On Saturday, the Flyers will be back on the road to play the Carolina Hurricanes. The Flyers have been getting secondary scoring, but the team will need to get off to better starts than they have in the first two games of the season.
The Blackhawks have had their struggles this season, especially on the penalty kill where they have allowed six power play goals. Chicago is relying on some young kids this year because of the loss of key players over the past two seasons due to salary cap constrictions. Richard Panik is the leading scorer, while the Calder Trophy winner from last season, Artemi Panarin, is off to a slow start. The Blackhawks have been getting a majority of their scoring from the top two lines in the early season.
A concern heading into the season for the Flyers was secondary scoring, but they’ve been getting that from the other lines. Brayden Schenn will be serving the final game of his three-game suspension for a hit that took place last season in the playoffs. The Flyers have struggled with their starts to games and that’ll need to change if they want to have a chance at winning Tuesday night. Philadelphia will also need to stay out of the box because Chicago does have a dangerous power play unit. The Flyers will need to try to shut down the top two lines of the Blackhawks and watch out for the defense because they can chip in on the offensive side of the puck. Finally, if Philadelphia wants to steal a win from the Blackhawks then they’ll need the power play units to take advantage of their chances since Chicago hasn’t had the most stellar penalty kill early on.
The Flyers will play on home ice for the first time this season on Thursday night when they face off with the Ducks. The Ducks have had some problems scoring goals again this year. They are firing shots to the net but just can’t finish. The second line (Cogliano–Kesler-Silfverberg) for Anaheim seems to be doing most of the damage for the team along with Ryan Getzlaf. Once Rickard Rackell can play then he should be able to improve the offense and chip in some goals.
Philadelphia needs to feed off the crowd in the home opener and get that first goal. This should be Brayden Schenn’s first game back from his suspension. They will need to be aware of Sami Vatanen and Cam Fowler from the back end for Anaheim since both players can put up points. The Orange and Black will need to shut down Getzlaf and the second line to have a chance at winning. The team needs to get pucks to the net and to test either John Gibson or Jonathan Bernier.
The trip home will be a short one before the Flyers head back out on the road. The Hurricanes have gotten most of their offense from the top line of Jeff Skinner, Lee Stempniak, and Victor Rask. Carolina isn’t a balanced team and has a lot of young kids in the lineup. If they can shut down the Flyers’ top two lines and make the other lines beat them then Carolina has a decent shot at winning the game.
The Flyers need to establish the forecheck early and make the Carolina defensemen turn the puck over to get some scoring chances. Philadelphia will need to shut down the top line of the Hurricanes since they’ve done most of the offensive damage for the team in the early going. If the Flyers get down they need to just keep coming because Carolina has already lost a game after having a lead after two periods. The Hurricanes will need to watch out for the Claude Giroux-Shayne Gostisbehere connection since they beat them a couple of times last year.