The Philadelphia Flyers look to extend its winning streak to eight games and beyond this week. They’ll try to extend the streak in the confines of the Wells Fargo Center. On Monday night, they’ll face the Vancouver Canucks. Then they’ll have a few days to rest up before taking on the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night, and the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday afternoon.
1) Monday, Feb.4 vs. Canucks- 7 p.m. ET
The Flyers take on Elias Pettersson and the Vancouver Canucks tonight and it won’t be an easy task. Goaltender Carter Hart will look to extend his personal winning streak to seven games. The Flyers have managed to find ways to win during their seven game winning streak including coming from behind overtime wins. This should be a good matchup since the teams are very close on paper.
The Flyers Win If…
They can manage to stop Pettersson and his linemates. The Canucks will be without key player Sven Baertschi due to injury. The Flyers will have to play a solid game at even strength since the special teams haven’t been the best this season. The Canucks will want to stay out of the penalty box since the Flyers power play has been red hot the past few games. Hart will need to have another good game and make some saves to keep his team in the game, which he has been doing since being called up. The Flyers need to get the first goal of the game and make sure they have the lead entering the final period since they only have three regulation wins when trailing entering the final period this year.
Matchup to Watch
The goaltending matchup should be a good one. The 20-year-old rookie, Hart, will start for the Flyers and he will be opposed by Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom has been decent for the Canucks this season with a 2.79 GAA and .910 save percentage in 28 games played. Hart has been the story of the League since being called up and has been the main reason for the Flyers confidence on the ice of late. He has been making saves when needed and that is something the team lacked earlier in the year. Hart has a 2.58 GAA and a .921 save percentage in his 15 games this season.
The Flyers extend their winning streak to eight games while playing in front of the home crowd. Hart and Markstrom will each have good games and this will be a close game. The Flyers will manage to win the game by a score of 3-1 with an empty net goal late in the game to seal the win. I’d look for Pettersson to have a point on the Canucks goal with Nolan Patrick, Sean Couturier and Oskar Lindblom scoring for the Flyers.
2) Thursday, Feb. 7 vs. Kings- 7 p.m. ET
This should be an easy game for the Flyers to win with the Los Angeles Kings being one of the worst teams in the NHL. The Kings have had problems scoring goals all season long. Anthony Stolarz will get the start for the Flyers, which will be his first since Tuesday, January 29, when he shutout the New York Rangers. It will have been about nine days between starts for Stolarz so the Kings should try to get plenty of pucks to the net early and often. This could be a trap game for the Flyers since they tend to play down to their competition.
The Flyers Win If…
They get out to a good start and finish when they have the opportunities. The Flyers should make sure that they have plenty of traffic in front of the goaltender especially if Jonathan Quick starts since he doesn’t like players in the crease area. The Orange and Black should try to get out to a good start since the Kings have been outscored by a substantial margin in the first period of games. They should be aware of when Anze Kopitar’s line is on the ice since they pretty much lead the way offensively.
Matchup of the Night
The matchup to watch in this game will be the two Selke finalists from last season in Anze Kopitar and Sean Couturier. Kopitar is the leading goal scorer and leading point getter on a Kings team that has struggled to put the puck in the net. Couturier started the season off slow since he missed mostly all of preseason, but he has turned it on since then and is on pace for another 30 goal season. Even on a struggling Kings team, the Flyers need to be aware of Kopitar since he is a good two-way player, but the same goes for the Kings as Couturier is managing to pile up the points.
The Flyers will fall victim to this “trap” game and lose in overtime. The Kings will find a way to win the low scoring affair by a score of 2-1. The Flyers goal will come from Wayne Simmonds and the Kings goal scorers will be Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar. It should be a close game from start to finish but the Flyers won’t find a way to capitalize on their chances early and it will cost them the two points.
3) Saturday, Feb. 9 vs. Ducks- 1 p.m. ET
The Flyers will take on a Anaheim Ducks team that has had its share of injuries this season. It seems like every time that news come out about the Ducks, it’s injury news. The Ducks still have some weapons on their team so the Flyers can’t play down to their competition especially with the Penguins coming into town on Monday night.
The Flyers Will Win If…
They can cash in on their chances especially if John Gibson is in net for the Ducks. He has been one of the bright spots on the Ducks so far this season. The Flyers need to get Gibson moving from side-to-side and make sure there is plenty of traffic in front for rebounds and deflection chances. They’ll want to take advantage of terrible special teams and cash in on their power play opportunities. The Ducks should want to get the first goal of the game so they can quiet the crowd and build from there.
Matchup of the Game
The goalie matchup should be an interesting one especially if it is Gibson against Hart. Gibson has had a decent season so far for the Ducks. He is 17-17-8 with a 2.86 GAA and a .916 save percentage in 44 games played. His numbers are more of a mirror of how the team has played in front of him not how he has played. Hart has been sensational since being called up. He may not have his best game, but he has managed to keep the Flyers in every game that he has been in so far. He is 9-5-1 with a 2.58 GAA and .931 save percentage in 15 games so far this season.
The Flyers will take care of business and beat the Ducks in regulation by a score of 4-2. The Ducks goals will be scored by Getzlaf and Rakell. The Flyers goals will be scored by Giroux, van Riemsdyk, Patrick and Laughton. The goalies will be the difference in this game and the Flyers will bounce back after their overtime loss to the Kings on Thursday night.