GAME 19: FLYERS @ SENATORS
On the front half of a weekend back-to-back set, Alain Vigneault's Philadelphia Flyers (10-5-3) are briefly in Ontario to take on D.J. Smith's Ottawa Senators (7-10-1) on Friday evening. Game time at the Canadian Tire Centre is 7:30 p.m. ET.
The game will be televised on NBCSP+. The radio broadcast will be on 97.5 The Fanatic (or 93.3 WMMR) with an online simulcast on Flyers Radio 24/7
This is the first of three meetings between the teams this season. The clubs will rematch in Philadelphia on Dec. 7 and return to Ottawa on Dec. 21 to wrap up the season series. Last season, the Flyers went 2-1-0 against the Senators.
The Flyers saw a four-game winning streak end on Wednesday but extended their point streak to seven straight games (5-0-2) via a 65-minute tie and shootout loss to the Washington Capitals at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday.
The Flyers have had four straight games go past regulation, and six of the last seven. Philly won via shootout in New Jersey, Toronto and Boston. They beat Montreal in overtime after defeating Carolina in regulation. The Flyers lost via shootout at home against Toronto (11 rounds) and the Capitals.
Friday's game is the first half of a weekend back-to-back and the middle game of a three-in-four set after playing four times in six nights over the course of last week to Sunday. By the time the Flyers host a much more rested New York Islanders team (2nd game in 7 nights, amid a 2-in-9 stretch of November) on Saturday evening, the Flyers will have been in action seven times in 12 nights.
Carter Hart, coming off a brilliant performance against Washington, will get the start in Ottawa on Friday. Brian Elliott will start against the Islanders. The Flyers, who held a sparsely attended optional practice in Voorhees on Thursday before departing for Ottawa, juggled line combinations several times in the Washington game. They may -- or may not -- revert to the lines that started the last three games, but the game night roster itself is expected to be the same.
Entering Friday, the Flyers have averaged 3.00 goals per game with allowing 2.83 per game. The power play comes in at 21.7 percent and the penalty kill at 86.3 percent. The team has won faceoffs at a 53.8 percent clip, although the percentage has been dropping of late with Sean Couturier muddling through a shoulder strain and limited in his ability to take draws.
The worst team in the NHL last season, the Senators are still unlikely to push for a playoff spot in 2019-20 but are showing signs of improvement. The club has won six of its last 10 games, and has given some good teams -- including upset wins over Tampa Bay, Carolina and San Jose, plus taking Vegas to a shootout -- a tough time this season.
Ottawa enters this come coming off a 4-2 road win over the Devils on Wednesday, after splitting a home-and-home with Carolina. Jean-Gabriel Pageau led the way with a hat trick. He has nine goals on the season.
The Flyers must avoid falling into the classic trap game scenario, whereby they fail to come out ready to play against an opponent they "should" beat. This match is the outlying game between a series of games with top opponents on either side of the schedule. If the Flyers do not take the Senators as seriously as they took the likes of the Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, Bruins and Capitals, Ottawa is eminently capable of knocking off Philly.
The Senators are in the midst of a jam-packed segment of their own November schedule. Friday's game is the second of a three-in-four and the third of a four-in-six slate this week. On Saturday, the Sens travel to New York State to play the Buffalo Sabres.
Entering Friday's game, the Senators have averaged 2.83 goals per game with allowing 3.33 per game. The power play has struggled mightily, coming in at an anemic 6.5 percent (4-for-62) and has yielded three shorthanded goals to opponents but the penalty kill has been respectable at 80.3 percent. The team has won faceoffs at a 50.8 percent rate.
PROJECTED LINEUPS (subject to change, will be updated)
49 Joel Farabee - 28 Claude Giroux - 93 Jakub Voracek
23 Oskar Lindblom - 14 Sean Couturier - 11 Travis Konecny
25 James van Riemdsyk - 13 Kevin Hayes - 81 Carsen Twarynski
10 Andy Andreoff - 12 Michael Raffl - 18 Tyler Pitlick
9 Ivan Provorov - 15 Matt Niskanen
53 Shayne Gostisbehere - 61 Justin Braun
6 Travis Sanheim - 5 Phil Myers
79 Carter Hart
[37 Brian Elliott]
Power Play 1: Giroux, JVR, Farabee, Provorov, Voracek
Power Play 2: Couturier, Lindblom, Konecny, Gostisbehere, Niskanen
Scratches: 8 Robert Hägg (healthy), 44 Chris Stewart (healthy), 55 Sam Morin (torn ACL).
Injured reserve: 21 Scott Laughton (broken right index finger)
Injured non-roster: 19 Nolan Patrick (migraines)
7 Brady Tkachuk - 44 Jean-Gabriel Pageau - 10 Anthony Duclair
90 Vladislav Namestnikov - 64 J.C. Beaudin - 9 Bobby Ryan
13 Nick Paul - 36 Colin White - 28 Connor Brown
78 Filip Chlapik - 71 Chris Tierney - 63 Tyler Ennis
72 Thomas Chabot - 22 Nikita Zaitsev
26 Erik Brannström - 81 Ron Hainsey
74 Mark Borowiecki - 2 Dylan DeMelo
31 Anders Nilsson
41 Craig Anderson
Power Play 1: Tkachuk, Pageau, Duclair, White, Chabot
Power Play 2: Paul, Namestnikov, Brown, DeMelo, Brannström
Scratches: 17 Jonathan Davidsson (lower body, questionable), 29 Cody Goloubef (healthy), 89 Mikkel Boedker (healthy).
Injured reserve: 21 Logan Brown (shoulder, Nov. 1), 38 Rudolfs Balcers (lower body), 49 Scott Sabourin (broken nose, Nov. 1), 51 Artem Anisimov (groin).
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (6-3-5) continue their four-game road trip on Friday night against the Binghamton Devils (5-7-3). The trip wraps up on Saturday against the Wilkes Barre/ Scranton Penguins (8-5-2). By the time Scott Gordon's team is done with the road trip, they will have played five games in eight nights.
After splitting a home-and-home with the Hershey Bears last Saturday and Sunday in back-to-back games that went beyond regulation, the Phantoms sustained a 2-1 regulation road defeat to the Springfield Thunderbirds on Wednesday morning (10:30 a.m. start time).
Greg Carey scored the lone Phantoms goal in the Springfield game. Starting goalie Alex Lyon deserved a better fate; the first goal was off an attempted cross-ice pass by Springfield's Owen Tippett that deflected off the stick of Phantoms' defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon and severely changed direction. The second was scored in the waning seconds of the second period. The tally came about after the D-zone support broke down. Phantoms center Mikhail Vorobyev and others lost focus on their defensive-zone coverages and defenseman Tommy Cross walked right on in untouched to score a back-door goal with 3.6 seconds left in the frame.
Lehigh Valley has yet to get going on the power play this season. The PP comes into Friday at 11.5 percent (6-for-52, two opposing SHG). The PK has started to come around after a slow start, and is now up to 80 percent (44-for-55, one shorthanded goal).
The Phantoms are dealing with quite a few injuries and NHL callups (defenseman Phil Myers, veteran forward Andy Andreoff) that have tested their depth. The injury list includes center Connor Bunnaman, rookie winger Isaac Ratcliffe and defenseman Mark Friedman.