The Flyers win tonight with the NHL's best flash, Tampa Bay Lightning, after sweeping the home leg against the Detroit Red Wings this weekend. With tonight's approaching, the Flyers are 12-1-1 in their last 14 games and have only six points in a playoff spot. The Penguins' match was perhaps the most important of the team, but tonight's game will clearly be their most difficult task.
What more can you say about the Tampa Bay 2018-2019 Lightning? They are far and above the best team in the league with 94 points, only five wins out of 50, and we start the end of February. Nikita Kucherov is on a pace that the NHL has never seen for decades, Andrei Vasilevskiy is fine … Andrei Vasilevskiy, and by the way, Steven Stamkos is always a thing. They have an incredible season and maybe a story that makes it one.
Tonight, the Flyers will try to keep playing hard and win at least one point. Waiting for a win would be silly, but if that came true, it could be a great boost for an already high locker room. They gave the Lightning the advantage in both games of the season, losing 6-5 in overtime at these games. This will be the last game of the Flyers season against Tampa Bay, positive as they try their luck for the Stanley Cup playoffs. A win tonight would be huge, so what can the Flyers do to succeed the impossible?
1. Keep Kucherov off the board
Nikita Kucherov has 99 points this season … IT'S FEBRUARY. The Russian winger has been unstoppable this season with 29 goals and 70 assists in 60 games. His points total of last season was 100 points, he is already at this mark with 22 games to play. Last night, against Columbus, Kucherov scored five points in a dominant victory. In his last five games, he has 18 points. To say that he has the wind in his sails would be a euphemism, he illuminates the hockey world and leaves the burned earth in its wake.
So, how do the Flyers prevent them from scoring? Well, the first step would be to have it scored on the power play. Tampa will surely have an opportunity to play on the power play at some point tonight, and if he has a margin on the men's advantage, it's GG for the competition. It would be relatively easy if Kucherov was the only major threat on the digital edge, but that's just not the case. Tampa has so much offensive firepower that surrounds it that it is able to use it to its advantage. At 5 to 5, keep Andrew MacDonald as far as possible from him and we should have a decent chance of containing it.
2 Carter Hart will have to stand on his head
According to Dave Isaac of the Courrier-Post, Carter Hart will make his third consecutive start, having started the two back-to-back games against Detroit.
For anyone who thought that Brian Elliott was heading for the Lightning, no. Carter Hart starts tonight.
– Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) February 19, 2019
Hart gets what will be his biggest task since his call to the Philadelphia Flyers. He is facing an absolute behemoth tonight and the Flyers' defense will have to do its best to help his goalkeeper. Obviously, they have to do it every other night, but tonight is a different animal. Of course, Hart will also have to play his "A" game, and it will be interesting to see how he manages a team like Tampa Bay. If the Flyers win the win tonight, I have the feeling that Hart will be one of the main reasons for this win.
3. Hope a little luck
Louis Domingue could start tonight as Vasilevskiy started the night against Columbus, and Tampa will probably not risk throwing him in a return match against a team like the Flyers. The offensive must take advantage of it and strike early and often. The problem will then be to manage a much more aggressive lightning strike on a few goals, while trying to stay on the attack itself.
What I'm saying is that a lot of things have to go right tonight.
Projected range of flyers
JVR – Giroux – Konecny
Lindblom – Couturier – Voracek
Laughton – Patrick – Simmonds
Bailey – Varone – Raffl
Provorov – Sanheim
Gostisbehere – Myers / MacDonald
Hagg – Gudas
(Elliott / Talbot / you, you're saving tonight)