The Minnesota Wild are back home and looking to break their losing streak against the struggling Philadelphia Flyers.
Wild vs Flyers
When: 7:00 p.m. CT
Where: Xcel Energy Center
Radio: KFAN 100.3 FM
The Flyers have definitely had a weird season in a string of weird seasons, going on intermittent win and lose streaks in measure. They’re at the bottom of their division, with only the Columbus Blue Jackets underneath them, but have times of truly good goaltending.
Defense and turnovers are where the Flyers struggle most, with breakdowns that lead to goals against happening fairly regularly. They’ve got a good goal scorer in Travis Konecny, who seems to be coming out of his recent slump, with 49 points in 43 games. They’ve also got All-Star Nominee Kevin Hayes with 44 in 48, which is not a bad showing either.
On paper, the Wild are a better team and could really use a somewhat easy win. Now, this is Minnesota Hockey, so anything goes, but theoretically the Flyers defense should be no match for the combined prowess of Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello. It’d be nice to get this one and try to get back in the Wild Card standings.
Projected Wild lineup:
Kirill Kaprizov — Sam Steel — Mats Zuccarello
Matthew Boldy — Frederick Gaudreau — Brandon Duhaime
Marcus Foligno — Joel Eriksson Ek — Jordan Greenway
Mason Shaw — Connor Dewar — Ryan Reaves
Jake Middleton — Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin — Matt Dumba
Jon Merrill — Calen Addison
Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start in net tonight, but he played (and lost) against the Lightning on Tuesday, so maybe it will be Filip Gustavsson getting his turn in the rotation.
Tentatively, the Wild have a healthy roster to start the game, which we’re choosing to take as a good sign. Joel Eriksson Ek has had points in the last four games, and multiple points in the last two. We always like to see him succeeding, so keep an eye on him to see if he extends that points streak against the Flyers tonight.
Ryan Hartman will be a healthy scratch.
Calen Addison is continuing to rank in rookies with the most assists, and after a relatively slow night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, he’s due for some more offensive power.
Projected Flyers lineup:
James Van Riemsdyk — Morgan Frost — Owen Tippett
Joel Farabee — Noah Cates — Travis Konecny
Kevin Hayes — Scott Laughton — Wade Allison
Nicolas Deslauriers — Patrick Brown — Zack MacEwan
Ivan Provorov — Cam York
Travis Sanheim — Tony Angelo
Nick Seeler — Rasmus Ristolainen
Carter Hart is expected to be the starting goalie tonight.
Ryan Ellis, Cam Atkinson, Bobby Brink, and Sean Couturier are all on Injured Reserve and have been for a while, so that’s nothing new.
Travis Konecny is always one of the most fun to watch on the Flyers because he always seems to be doing something funny, whether he’s scoring a short-handed goal (three this season) or falling down flat on the ice. Morgan Frost has also been having a quietly decent season, with some good goals recently in his position as top-line center.
Puck drops at 7:00 p.m.
Is it time for a Zuccarello comeback?
After being injured and missing a few games earlier in January, Zuccarello has been relatively low-key on the scoresheet. Watching the chemistry he had with Kaprizov and Steel on that top-line was incredible before his injury and it would be great to have that energy back. Will tonight be the night, or is he still gearing up?
The Flyers have the sixth-worst powerplay in the League right now with the Wild at number 12, but their penalty kills rank about the same in the middle of the pack. If the Wild can figure out how to draw penalties, will they be able to convert that to scoring opportunities? Or will the Flyers be able to hold them at bay.
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