By Connor Thomas
The 2-0 Philadelphia Flyers enjoyed a nice weekend off after starting their season with an opening series sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center. If you are not yet aware, in an attempt to minimize travel to protect against major COVID outbreaks, the NHL has opted to schedule games as 2 game series throughout the regular season. The Flyers’ second installment of this new setup begins tonight with another home series against the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres, who were swept out of their opening home series with the Washington Capitals, are still searching for their first victory of the young season. The Sabres are coming off a season in which they finished 6th in the Atlantic Division, failing to make the playoffs. The Flyers, of course, won their first playoff series in nearly a decade last season, and despite a tough game 7 against the New York Islanders, have started off this season with some heat. Philly netted 11 goals in their 2 games against Pittsburgh, good for a share of the most in the NHL. The Sabres have only mustered 5 goals so far, and with budding star Carter Hart between the pipes for the Flyers at least in game one, the road does not seem to get any easier. It also should not be understated that the Flyers have been great at home under Head Coach Alain Vigneault, and it seems that the lack of fans in South Philadelphia has not hurt that trend. The Flyers are easily favored in tonight’s contest, and despite losing star center Sean Couturier to a rib injury, the bullies should still be able to handle a Buffalo side with very little defense.
The offensive player to watch for the Flyers will be, of course, Travis Konecny. Konecny notched his first NHL hat trick in Friday night’s game against the Penguins, and is tied for the NHL lead in both goals (3) and points (5). Konecny is steadily becoming one of the premier point scorers in the NHL, and with a sub-par Sabres defense, he should get plenty of opportunity to add to his totals tonight.
The offensive player to watch for the Sabres will be the tandem of new addition Taylor Hall and dangerous center Jack Eichel. Hall and Eichel are tied for Buffalo’s team lead in points, and while the two have been the best options on a bad team, the pair seem to still need time to get used to skating together on the Sabres’ top line. If Buffalo wants to give the Flyers trouble, it will come by way of one of those two.
Puck Drop: 7:30pm
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: Right here on 97.5 The Fanatic!