There is a doubleheader Wednesday on NBCSN as the Flyers are in Buffalo to take on the Sabres and the Los Angeles Kings are in Vegas to take on the Golden Knights in the late game.
Editor’s Note: The Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres face off Wednesday on NBCSN starting at 6:30 pm ET. Livestream all the action here.
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PHILADELPHIA AT BUFFALO
The Sabres are a disaster. The Flyers are not much behind them of late. The two teams met on Monday with the Flyers reeling and the Sabres on a 17-game losing streak. The Sabres led 3-0 heading into the third and gave up three in the final period as well as Ivan Provorov’s overtime goal to give the Flyers a much-needed win.
The Sabres are in trade mode at this time as they dealt their second-best center, Eric Staal, to Montreal on Friday and the fire sale seems to be on in Buffalo.
The Taylor Hall signing, one of the top ones in free-agency in October, has been a colossal failure. Hall was given a one-year deal for $8 million and has only two goals and 18 points in 34 games. He has a no-trade contract but it would be hard to believe that he doesn’t want out of a losing situation.
There is not a lot of good to see in this Buffalo team as their best player, Jack Eichel, has missed the last 13 games with an upper-body injury and may not play again this season. Only two players have more than five goals this season, Reinhart and Victor Olofsson and you cannot expect to win games with that lack of scoring. Of course, being on an 18-game losing streak, easily proves that point.
The blueline is led by Rasmus Dahlin. Dahlin has taken a step backwards this season but is still a world-class player and at the age of 20 still has star, or even superstar written all over him. It is just part of his learning curve and with an NHL-worse minus-33 rating (teammate Reinhart is second with a minus-23) there is still plenty to learn. Nevertheless, Dahlin has tremendous offensive skills and Buffalo would be wise to hold onto him.
They finally got Linus Ullmark back in net two games ago and he has kept Buffalo competitive. Ullmark has a 5-5-3 mark for a team that is 6-23-5 and his 2.60 goals-against-average and .916 save percentage are more than solid among all goalkeepers in the NHL.
The Flyers are sitting fifth in the East but are two points behind Boston for fourth with the Bruins having a couple of games in hand. The Rangers are right on the tail of the Flyers as well and have been playing very well of late.
The Flyers are having plenty of problems in net, led by Carter Hart who will not play on Wednesday. He has a 4.04 goals-against-average, the worst in the NHL for any netminder with at least eight starts. His .869 is similarly bad, also the worst in the NHL. Brian Elliott has not been very good either but compared to Hart this season, he has been Georges Vezina.
The blueline has been weak but Ivan Provorov has been coming on of late. The Flyers put Shayne Gostisbehere on waivers Tuesday and they will find out after this writing if he has been claimed.
The Flyers have plenty of offense up front with James van Riemsdyk leading the way. Sean Couturier is one of the best all-round centers in the game while Claude Giroux has been a star for many years.
Joel Farabee is an up-and-coming winger and there is nothing wrong with players like Jakub Voracek, Kevin Hayes, Travis Konecny and Scott Laughton.
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Probable Philadelphia Lineup
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk -Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
Oskar Lindblom-Nolan Patrick-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Scott Laughton-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Ivan Provorov-Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
Samuel Morin-Shayne Gostisbehere
Probable Buffalo Lineup
Taylor Hall- Casey Mittelstadt- Tage Thompson
Victor Olofsson-Riley Sheahan- Sam Reinhart
Jeff Skinner-Curtis Lazar- Kyle Okposo
Tobias Rieder-Cody Eakin-Steven Fogarty
Jacob Bryson-Rasmus Ristolainen
Colin Miller-Brandon Montour
Rasmus Dahlin-Henri Jokiharju
Editor’s Note: The Los Angeles Kings play the Vegas Golden Knights Wednesday on NBCSN starting at 10:00 pm ET. Livestream all the action here.
LOS ANGELES AT VEGAS
The Kings are on a three-game losing streak but fortunately are still in contention in the West as the St. Louis Blues, the team they are chasing for the fourth and final playoff spot, have lost four straight. Los Angeles is six points in arrears of the Blues but do have a pair of games in hand.
The Kings continue to get great seasons from their veteran skaters as Anze Kopitar is having a career year with 37 points in 33 games including 21 points on the power play.
Dustin Brown has 14 goals and 21 points in 31 games with eight goals on the power play while the third member of the line is Alex Iafallo who is one of the few players who are in the prime of their careers. The 27-year-old has eight goals and 21 points with 10 points coming with the man-advantage.
But the youth of the Kings, who have the best farm system in the NHL, starts with Adrian Kempe. He is seeing first line power play time and is second on the team with 12 goals, four on the power play. Gabriel Vilardi is a 21-year-old getting his feet wet at the NHL level and that is barely the tip of the iceberg as far as the youth and talent of the Kings are concerned with most of their best prospects still in the minors, juniors and over in Europe.
The blueline is still led by Drew Doughty who is having another season which will get him Norris Trophy consideration as the NHL’s top defenseman. Doughty has seven goals and 27 points in 33 games and is the heart-and-soul of the Kings blueline. Sean Walker and Tobias Bjornfot are big parts of their future as is Matt Roy.
The goaltending is led by Cal Petersen and Jonathan Quick. Quick has been their number one goaltender since the 2008-09 season but he has been surpassed this season by Petersen who has been great between the pipes. Look for Peterson to get the call in net Wednesday after Quick gave up four goals on 24 shots Monday to the Golden Knights.
Vegas is strong all over the ice although there is a bit of a weakness on the blueline with their top defenseman Alex Pietrangelo out of action since March 6 with an upper-body injury. They are relying on Shea Theodore to lead them on defense and is having a great season with five goals and 26 points in only 30 games.
Mark Stone is the Golden Knights top player up front as he is a solid two-way player and has 40 points in 32 games, tied for seventh best in the NHL. He will get some consideration for the Hart Trophy but that will go to Connor McDavid of the Oilers rather handily. Still, Stone is the best player in the West along with the Avs Nathan MacKinnon and that is heady company.
The Golden Knights are solid at forward with Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Marchessault. Alex Tuch, Chandler Stephenson, Reilly Smith and the underrated William Karlsson in addition to Stone.
Karlsson has been a day-one player for Vegas and had a special season in his first year with 43 goals, 78 points and a plus-49 rating which was the best in the NHL. After a couple of so-so seasons, Karlsson is having another nice year as he leads the Golden Knights in power play time on ice and has eight goals and 24 points in 33 games.
The strength of the Golden Knights is in the crease as Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner are the best one-two punch in the NHL. Fleury, the likely starter on Wednesday, although Lehner has won six straight against the Kings including Monday’s 4-1 victory, is 17-7-0 with a 2.06 goals-against-average as well as a .927 save percentage while Lehner is 6-1-1 in limited action as he has been hurt, with a 2.35 GAA and a .906 save percentage.
Probable Los Angeles lineup
Alex Iafallo-Anze Kopitar-Dustin Brown
Trevor Moore-Gabriel Vilardi-Jeff Carter
Andreas Athanasiou- Jaret Anderson-Dolan-Adrian Kempe
Austin Wagner-Blake Lizotte-Carl Grundstrom
Mikey Anderson-Drew Doughty
Tobias Bjornfot-Matt Roy
Austin Strand-Sean Walker
Probable Vegas lineup
Max Pacioretty-Chandler Stephenson-Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault-William Karlsson-Reilly Smith
Alex Tuch-Nicolas Roy-Keegan Kolesar
William Carrier-Tomas Nosek-Ryan Reaves
Alec Martinez-Shea Theodore
Brayden McNabb-Dylan Coghlan
Nicolas Hague-Zach Whitecloud
Published: 2021-03-31 11:04:38
Tags: #NBCSN #Wednesday #Night #Preview