After a six-day break, the Flyers take on an important three-game stretch this week. (AP)
The Flyers have had a full week to contemplate last Thursday’s bitter loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. For six days, they’ve done nothing other than practice and, apparently, go to Eagles games and Pearl Jam concerts.
But game action returns to the Wells Fargo Center (see game notes), kicking off a week of winnable games -- something the Flyers could use more of. Between now and the end of October, they’ll face teams with early-season issues of their own -- and they should have a much firmer grasp of coach Craig Berube’s system.
Let’s start with tonight’s game.
Oct. 24: Flyers vs. Rangers
There couldn’t be a much better opportunity for the Flyers to finally nab their second win of the season. The New York Rangers, at 2-5 and sitting in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, have experienced some of the same struggles as the Flyers. They’ve scored only 11 goals through their seven games and will arrive at the Wells Fargo Center coming off a devastating 4-0 loss to the Devils, who have had a rough season of their own. Even better (possibly) for the Flyers: With Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist battling injury, the Rangers will start Cam Talbot in net tonight. Talbot has never played in an NHL game before.
Oct. 26: Flyers at New York Islanders
On Saturday, the Flyers will travel to the Nassau Coliseum, a venue in which they’ve had success in the past (even during rough stretches like last season). It will be defenseman Mark Streit’s first chance to play his former team, and perhaps a perfect opportunity for the ex-Isles captain to finally show that he can be dangerous on the power play. However, this isn’t the Islanders team of the past few seasons that’s hardly been a threat. At 3-3-3, the Isles currently occupy third place in the Metro Division, and two of their top centers -- Franz Nielsen (5 G, 6 A) and John Tavares (4 G, 7 A) -- have had very strong starts to the year.
Oct. 29: Flyers vs. Anaheim Ducks
The Flyers’ toughest competition of the week will be the Ducks. At 7-2, the Ducks are second in the Pacific Division and lay claim to a plus-9 goal differential that would have them near the top of any of the NHL’s four divisions. Working in the Flyers’ favor, perhaps, will be the fact that the Ducks will have been on the road for the four games preceding their Wells Fargo Center visit as well as the three games that follow it. While they’re an impressive 5-0 on home ice, the Ducks are just .500 away from the Honda Center.