Flyers

How does Flyers' start compare and contrast to last season?

Flyers

The Flyers have an opportunity to accomplish a few notable things Saturday.

With a victory, the Flyers (5-2-2) would avoid losing consecutive games for the first time this season and notch their first Metropolitan Division win. They also would jump the Capitals (5-1-4) in the win column 10 games into their season.

"When you're talking about divisional games, you're talking about four-point games," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Wednesday. "Extremely important, we understand that."

Let's get into the essentials for the second game of the club's two-game divisional road trip:

  • When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Capital One Arena
  • Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
  • Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• With the Flyers at 5-2-2 after an active and aggressive offseason from general manager Chuck Fletcher, it feels like they're a different team and in a better place.

Interestingly, though, the Flyers did have a better record at this point last season. They were 6-2-1 and went 7-2-1 through their first 10 games. They ended up missing the playoffs, finishing 25-23-8 and with the NHL's worst goals-against figure at 3.52 per game.

So it is early.

But the Flyers' record this season is likely more indicative of their play. Their record at this point last season was pretty misleading.

Through their 6-2-1 start in 2020-21, the Flyers had the NHL's second-fewest shots per game at 23 and were allowing the third most at 33.4. They had outscored the opposition 31-27 as they were outshot by 10 per game. The Flyers' two regulation losses were a pair of eye-opening 6-1 decisions, one of them coming to the Sabres.

In their 5-2-2 start this season, the Flyers have outscored the opposition 30-23. They've put up 30 shots per game and have allowed 33.3 per game. Their two regulation losses have come against teams with a combined record of 15-1-4. And they've had top-pair defenseman Ryan Ellis (lower body) for only three games and second-line center Kevin Hayes (abdominal surgery) for none.

 

Overall, the Flyers have to feel more pleased with their process this year and believe it will yield better results by season's end. Perhaps the biggest reason for that is Carter Hart looking like the Hart of old (3-2-2, 2.41 GAA, .926 save percentage).

• Martin Jones is in net for the Flyers on Saturday night.

Like Hart, he has played well. In his two outings, Jones has stopped 64 of 68 shots for a pair of victories.

Ellis will miss his seventh straight game.

Patrick Brown will enter the lineup in place of Nicolas Aube-Kubel.

The Capitals have scored 3.60 goals per game and are 3-0-3 at home. They're dealing with injuries up front as forwards Nicklas Backstrom (hip), T.J. Oshie (lower body) and Anthony Mantha (upper body) are all out.

Projected lineup

 

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny

Joel Farabee-Derick Brassard-Cam Atkinson

Oskar Lindblom-Scott Laughton-James van Riemsdyk

Patrick Brown-Nate Thompson-Zack MacEwen

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Justin Braun

Travis Sanheim-Rasmus Ristolainen

Keith Yandle-Nick Seeler

Goalies

Martin Jones

Carter Hart

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