The Philadelphia Flyers long awaited season opener has finally arrived as they host the Vancouver Canucks tonight at 7 PM (ET). The Flyers have had a long off-season wait, last playing a regular season game on May 10th against the New Jersey Devils.
Injuries have derailed the Flyers a little before the regular season opener as they are already without the services of Kevin Hayes and Wade Allison. Now add Rasmus Ristolainen to that list as he’s dealing with an upper body injury. It’s not supposed to be serious and he is listed as day to day. Patrick Brown, who was claimed off waivers earlier this week, will miss the opener as well as he was placed on the covid protocol list.
The Vancouver Canucks come into town coming off a hard fought shootout loss against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night. Down 2-0 in the third period, the Canucks got goals from Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Quinn Hughes to take it into overtime. After a stalemate in the 3 on 3, the Oilers bested the Canucks in 5 rounds.
The Canucks will once again be without the services of Brandon Sutter, Tyler Motte, and Brock Boeser. They still carry offensive threats in the likes of Elias Petterson, JT Miller, Quinn Hughes, and Bo Horvat. Something that should really test the newly revamped Flyers defense.
The off-season brought about a lot of change and incidentally a lot of newcomers are set to make their Philadelphia Flyers debut. Ristolainen will have to wait a game or so but the much anticipated debuts for Ryan Ellis, Cam Atkinson, Keith Yandle, and Derick Brassard should have fans excited.
Another debut to look out for is Mason Willman. The young forward will get a chance in the lineup after Patrick Brown was ruled out. Nick Seeler and Jackson Cates were also called up from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms with the former set to replace the injured Ristolainen.
The Flyers finished the preseason 2-3-1, had a disappointing showing on special teams (primarily penalty kill), and were only able to score 12 goals. However, optimism and strong self belief are the sentiments around the locker room as both, coaching staff and players, are ready to get things rolling.
Alain Vigneault believes this team is playoff bound, the veterans and newcomers want to prove everyone wrong, and Carter Hart looks to have regained some of his 2019-20 swagger. The Flyers are a much different team than last year and the idea is that they purged the negativity in the summer.
Time will tell but game 1 of 82 is set to begin tonight and everyone is hoping for a far better outcome than 2020-21.
PHI Projected Lineup
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
Joel Farabee-Derick Brassard-Cam Atkinson
Oskar Lindblom-Scott Laughton-James van Riemsdyk
Mason Willman-Nate Thompson-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Ivan Provorov-Ryan Ellis
Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun
Keith Yandle-Nick Seeler
VAN Projected Lineup
J.T Miller-Elias Pettersson-Alex Chiasson
Tanner Pearson-Bo Horvat-Conor Garland
Matthew Highmore-Jason DIckinson-Nils Hoglander
Justin Dowling-Juho Lammikko-Vasily Podkolzin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Tyler Myers
Quinn Hughes-Tucker Poolman
Jack Rathbone-Kyle Burroughs
Thatcher Demko/Jaroslav Halak