For the first time in two weeks, the Colorado Avalanche find themselves on the outside of the Western Conference Wild Card race. Going into tonight’s game, the Avalanche are a point being both St. Louis and Anaheim. Two points are almost a necessity as the Avs have a tough five games ahead of them.
Tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers come to the Pepsi Center in the middle of their own playoff race. The Flyers currently hold the first Wild Card position in the East, but are clustered in the middle of a very crowded Metropolitan Division. Only two points behind the Penguins for second in the division, the Flyers are going to be looking to avenge the 5-4 shootout loss they suffered at the hand of the Avalanche back in November.
The Avalanches are going to need to be a lot better offensively than they have been over the past week. With only a single goal in each of their past three games, the Avalanche aren’t scoring nearly enough to win games. The MacKinnon line has cooled off, and it’s resulted in the entire team being unable to produce.
The rookie line of Tyson Jost, J.T. Compher and Alexander Kerfoot looked really good int eh first period against Vegas, but beyond that, this team simply isn’t generating enough quality scoring chances. The defense is doing enough to give the team a chance to win, now the forwards need to carry their load.
Someone needs to provide a spark, and it can’t be Nathan MacKinnon every night. Maybe it’s time to end the 11 forwards experiment.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Tyson Jost - J.T. Compher - Alex Kerfoot
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
Gabriel Bourque - Dominic Toninato
Nikita Zadorov - Tyson Barrie
Patrik Nemeth - Erik Johnson
Anton Lindholm - Samuel Girard
This could be a very tired team. The Flyers are coming in after an overtime loss to Dallas last night.
Led by the top line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny, the Flyers offense has been on fire recently. Before last night, the team was averaging nearly five goals per game over their previous five outings.
After a slow start to the season, second overall pick Nolan Patrick seems to have figured things out recently. Patrick has 14 of his 25 points since the start of February.
This is a team can move the puck incredibly well, so expect this to be a high-tempo game.
Giroux - Couturier - Konecny
Lindblom - Patrick - Voracek
Weal - Filppula - Simmonds
Lehtera - Laughton - Read
Provorov - Gostisbehere
Sanheim - MacDonald
Manning - Gudas
*Update: Varly is sick and Bernier is still nursing an infection on his hand. It looks like Andrew Hammond is going to get his first start with the Avs.
It’s going to be Semyon Varlomov - likely from now until the end of the season. Varly looked fine on Tuesday night, unfortunately, he’s needed to be better than just “fine” recently.
With Petr Mrazek playing last night, we might get to see Alex Lyon in net for the Flyers tonight. The rookie has a .905 in 11 NHL games this season.