Flyers – Sabres: Frost Warning | GAME PREVIEW

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GAME DAY | Philadelphia Flyers vs Buffalo Sabres Preview, TV, Start Time, Statistical Match-up, Projected Lines, Starting Goalies, Keys to Victory, Flyers Tickets

Game Preview

Hall Eyes on Eichel

After downing their cross-state rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in both meetings last week, the Flyers now turn their attention to the Buffalo Sabres in the first of another back-to-back series. With a win tonight, the Flyers will start the season 3-0 for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Getting past Buffalo won’t be an easy task, however, now that Taylor Hall has joined Jack Eichel on the Sabres’ top line. Add Rasmus Ristolainen and Rasmus Dahlin on the back end, and you’ve got the makings of a tough matchup on home ice.

Last game (January 15, 2021): PHI 5  PIT 2  F

For a complete game recap: Flyers – Penguins: South Philly Sweep

Players to Watch

  • Morgan Frost
    Frost will make his season debut with the Flyers tonight, drawing into the lineup in place of an injured Sean Couturier. He centered the third line in practice yesterday, and took Couturier’s spot on the first power play unit. Look for him to continue the strong work he showed in training camp – he’s out to prove he can be a full-time NHL forward.
  • Travis Konecny
    Currently tied for the league lead in points (five) and goals (three), thanks to his first career hat trick on Friday night, Konecny seems to have found a sweet spot in his game by driving to the net more frequently. He’ll likely continue to aggressively target the crease to pick up loose pucks and create traffic.
  • James van Riemsdyk
    Alain Vigneault recently said post-game that he’d like to continue to see his third line continue to find more chemistry and in Friday’s game against Pittsburgh, van Riemsdyk started to do just that when he tallied two assists on the night. With Couturier out, Vigneault moved JVR’s line up to the second line, so we’ll see if he, Nolan Patrick and Jake Voracek can continue to generate offense.

Keys to Victory

  • Defensive offense
    With their Selke Trophy winner sidelined, the Flyers will need to really concentrate on playing an immaculate 200-foot game. As displayed on Friday, there’s no room to allow for neutral zone turnovers or soft forechecking. Clean zone exits and entries, solid passing, and a defense-first mindset will pay off.
  • Take away space
    Give Hall or Eichel an inch of open ice, and they’ll take a mile. Philadelphia’s blueliners will need to put heavy pressure on both of these players and keep passing lanes shut down. And don’t sleep on Dylan Cozens, the young forward who was an All-Star at this year’s IIHF World Junior Championship. He scored eight goals and eight assists, and was plus-11 for the tournament.
  • Maintain pace
    The Flyers have demonstrated some speed and endurance in their first two games this season, and they’ll need to continue to push the pace tonight. By controlling the puck and the speed of the game, they’ll continue to wear down opponents more quickly as the night progresses.

Statistical Matchup
Wells Fargo Center, PA | January 18, 7:30 PM ET | TV: NBCSP, NBCSN 

2020-21 statistics

SABRES FLYERS
0 (29th) Points (rank) 4 (3rd)
0-2-0 Record 2-0-0
0-2-0 Home/Away 2-0-0
0-2-0 Last 10 2-0-0
2.50 GF/G 5.50
4.00 GA/G 2.50
12.5 PP% 33.3
50.0 PK% 75.0
51.45  CF% 41.55

 

Pre-game Quotes
 Kevin Hayes on Morgan Frost

  • “His game is fun to watch. If he plays the right way defensively he’s going to provide serious offense for this team.”

Alain Vigneault on Morgan Frost

  • “I think Morgan has earned this opportunity. He is considered a very skilled player. Young, but very skilled. He’s very excited. He’s going to step in and do very well for us tonight.”
Projected Forwards, Defense and Goaltenders (subject to change)
Forwards
Hall – Eichel – Mittelstadt
Olofsson – Staal – Cozens
Rieder – Eakin – Thompson
Skinner – Lazar – Sheahan
Giroux – Hayes – Farabee
van Riemsdyk – Patrick – Voracek
Lindblom – Frost – Konecny
Raffl – Laughton – Aube-Kubel
Defensemen
McCabe – Ristolainen
Dahlin – Montour
Miller – Jokiharju
Provorov – Braun
Sanheim – Myers
Hagg – Gustafsson
Out of the lineup
Scratched: Irwin
Taxi: Quinn, Borgen, Asplund, Davidson, Johansson
Injured: Reinhart, Okposo, Girgensons
Scratched: Friedman, Gostisbehere
Taxi: Lyon, Morin, Prosser, Twarynski, Bunnaman, Andreoff
Injured: Couturier
Goalies (2020-21 statistics)
Carter Hutton Carter Hart
Record: 0-0-0
GAA: – 0.00
Sv%: – .000
SO: 0
Alternate: Jonas Johansson
Record: 2-0-0
GAA: – 2.51
Sv%: – .925
SO: 0
Alternate: Brian Elliott
 Game Expectations
Injuries will play a key role for both teams in this game, with Frost looking to make an impact in replacement of Couturier for the Flyers, and Cozens and/or Mittelstadt drawing in for the Sabres. Buffalo has yet to win a game yet this season, so they’ll be hunting for their first victory to kickstart this back-to-back series, but Philadelphia has just as much on the line as they look to go 3-0 to open the season.

Bottom Line

The team who can find chemistry the fastest while incorporating new faces into their lineup will be the winner in this one. The Flyers have scored 11 goals in their first two games, and they’ll want to keep up that kind of offensive production to give Carter Hart and the defense some room to breathe.

 Video Highlights

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By Amy Johnson, Lead Correspondent
The Flyers Report
Copyright © 2021 Rocket Sports

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