Flyers at Oilers preview: Beardless in Edmonton

Last time was fun, let’s do it again, yeah?

It’s hockey night in Canada once again!

I mean, not the Hockey Night in Canada. But the Flyers are playing hockey. On this night. In Canada. Okay.

After finally snapping their winless streak on Monday, the Flyers—now 9-11-7—are set to square off against the Oilers tonight in Edmonton. If their last meeting was any indication of what the course of this game will look like, we can reasonably expect a lower-scoring affair, with Couturier and Laughton’s lines being most often deployed to shut down McDavid.

The Oilers are 11-14-2 and currently sit five points out of last place in the Pacific Division. Well-rested after their 7-5 defeat of the Flames on Saturday, the Oilers will look to (keep rolling with that momentum). They will have one of their more dangerous weapons iced in Leon Draisaitl, who was out with a concussion last time they met the Flyers, but will be without starting goaltender Cam Talbot. Laurent Brossoit, who allowed four goals in the third period of the game against Calgary, will get the start.

The Flyers, of course, will be looking to start out on a win streak. And what will we be looking for? I’m glad you asked.

1. More shots

It’s no secret that the Flyers’ win over the Flames wasn’t a particularly pretty one. Most simply put, if they want to increase this winning run, they have to start generating more chances. In Calgary, shot selection was working in their favor, but they were still outshot 45-21. And that’s not a performance you want to see them repeat.

But there may not be much cause for concern, on this front. The Flyers did well to outshoot their opponents in a number of games throughout the winless streak, even if the results weren’t necessarily there. Ideally, of course, they’ll look to find that perfect balance between quality and quantity of shots (but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves just yet).

2. Lineup shuffling

With the Flyers looking to get more or better offense sparked in Calgary, they once again changed up the forward groupings. We’ve seen them making small adjustments before, with little results, but this time it worked. Mostly. With the exception of the third line–who got positively thrashed by the numbers, but still showed some potential–these new arrangements looked pretty good. As of right now, it looks like the lines will remain the same, as the Flyers hope they can continue to produce.

But beyond the shuffling of the forward lines, more changes are at work. The Flyers announced this morning that Brandon Manning and Michal Neuvirth have been placed on injured reserve, with T.J. Brennan and Alex Lyon recalled from the Phantoms. Lyon will likely just serve as the backup, but there’s a chance Brennan may see some time on the ice, if not tonight then tomorrow.

3. Third period deployment

You had to know this was coming. It’s one of the only things we’ve been talking about since Saturday. For the last two games, the third period saw Nolan Patrick and Travis Konecny all but stapled to the bench, and Monday’s game saw Travis Sanheim’s third period icetime cut, as well.

And while a case can be made for benching defensive liabilities while trying to protect a lead, this argument only holds up in the case of one of the past two games. So are we looking at a trend of the coach sitting these young players late in the game, whatever the situation? I certainly hope not, but tonight will tell.

Checking in with the models over at Corsica, they seem to be favoring the Oilers to win this one, giving the Flyers a high of 47.3 percent and an average of 42.9 percent chance of winning. But maybe they’ll surprise us.

Puck drops tonight at 9:30. You can check out the Flyers’ projected lineup below.

Forwards

Giroux – Couturier – Simmonds

Raffl – Filppula – Voracek

Konecny – Patrick – Weise

Leier – Laughton – Weal

Defensemen

Provorov – MacDonald

Gostisbehere – Hagg

Sanheim – Alt

Goaltenders

Elliott

(Lyon)

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