EDMONTON, Alberta — Bring on Connor McDavid.
The Flyers (12-13-4, 28 points) have beaten the Oilers (17-12-3, 37 points) in three of their last four meetings including a 4-2 win in Edmonton last season.
The Flyers held the Oilers' superstar center to just one point and no goals in last season’s sweep of Edmonton.
In his career, McDavid has seven points (two goals, five assists) in six career games against the Flyers.
Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock talked about what makes McDavid a unique player:
The thing that’s unique to him is that he’s a fearless, reckless player. He goes into places that make me nervous just being on the bench. Absolutely reckless and fearless, in order to get into scoring areas.
Let's take a look at Friday night's essentials:
When: 9 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 8:30 p.m.
Where: Rogers Place
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia+
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
• Alex Lyon has rejoined the Flyers from Lehigh Valley and will back up Anthony Stolarz. Lyon started one game this season — Nov. 21 in Buffalo — allowing four goals in the first period.
Michal Neuvirth left the team and returned home to be with his wife for the birth of their second child.
There was an outside possibility that goaltender Brian Elliott might play during this Western Canada road trip, but that won’t happen after he returned to Philadelphia for what the team referred to as a scheduled medical appointment. Elliott had taken part in practices and morning skates (see story).
• The Oilers are one of four teams to make an in-season coaching change so far in 2018-19. Former Flyers coach Hitchcock (2002-07) took over for Todd McLellan on Nov. 20 and the Oilers have responded with an 8-2-2 record under Hitchcock.
Under Hitchcock, the Oilers are playing a much more structured defensive game, allowing just 2.5 goals per game after giving up 3.3 goals under McLellan, proving a coaching change can have immediate dividends.
"I just had coffee with Rick Wilson (Flyers assistant coach) and we both said, ‘Are we friggin’ nuts?’ We were the mayors of the coffee club," Hitchcock said. "Both of us miss one thing and that’s the thing that drives us, and that is we both love having a stake in the game."
• The Flyers are playing their fourth set of back-to-back games with Friday’s game in Edmonton followed by Saturday’s game in Vancouver. They’re 2-1-0 in the first game of a back-to-back and 1-2-0 in the second game.
This also marks the second time they’ve played back-to-backs on the road after winning, 6-2, last Saturday in Buffalo before dropping a 7-1 game in Winnipeg.
After the Flyers outshot the Flames, 7-0, to open the game, Calgary dominated in possession with a 41-12 shot advantage over the final 53 minutes.
Dave Hakstol said Friday morning: "There are stretches of games where we give the puck up way too easily."
• Hakstol may also want to re-think his 3-on-3 combinations for overtime. The Flyers are 1-4 in games decided in OT this season. Wednesday’s dreadful 6-5 overtime loss to Calgary marked the third overtime game this season that saw the Flyers lose on the opening shift.
On Nov. 3, the Sharks' Timo Meier scored 13 seconds into OT in a 4-3 Flyers loss. On Dec. 6, the Blue Jackets' Seth Jones scored 10 seconds into the extra period, and Wednesday it was Johnny Gaudreau scoring just 35 seconds into overtime.
• The Flyers should have an overwhelming edge in the faceoff circle. The NHL’s best team has won 55 percent of its draws this season while the Oilers are ranked 28th in the NHL at 47.3 percent.
• Radko Gudas had six stitches over his left eye in a fight with Buffalo’s Nathan Beaulieu. While he could elect to have the stitches removed during the road trip, Gudas has elected to wait until he returns home, as his adorable daughter Leontynka has personally requested to remove dad’s stitches. Gudas said she likes to play nurse. Can’t wait to see how that goes.
James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Oskar Lindblom-Phil Varone-Dale Weise
Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald
Robert Hägg-Shayne Gostisbehere
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas
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