Preview: Flyers head to the State of Hockey for matchup against Wild
Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images
That’s wild. The Philadelphia Flyers (20-21-8) embark on a two-game road trip to end the month of January and head into the all-star break. They start in America way up north against the Minnesota Wild (25-17-4). This Wild team has just been kicked out of the third spot in their division by the Colorado Avalanche, who, despite having some injury problems, have made their way back into the playoff picture. The Flyers? Well, they’re still at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division.
These two teams are oddly similar in their last 10 appearances, with Philadelphia being 5-4-1 and Minnesota being 4-4-2. The Flyers have suffered two losses in a row, one to their next opponent, the Jets, and the other to the Los Angeles Kings. The Wild have taken three losses in a row all to Eastern Conference teams, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, and Carolina Hurricanes.
Kirill Kaprizov has unsurprisingly been at the forefront of everything the Wild have been doing this season. He leads the team in assists and points over the last five games, and in 2022-23, he leads the team in points with 57 in 46 games. He was selected to the all-star game to represent Minnesota in the upcoming week.
Ryan Hartman would be looking for a rebound tonight after telling the media that he felt the loss to the Lightning in their most recent outing was on him after taking two minor penalties and allowing Tampa to get back into the game. An angry Hartman is not someone you want to mess with, and luckily, the Flyers won’t have to deal with him, as Wild head coach Dean Evason has decided to scratch him because of said penalties.
All-star Kevin Hayes leads the Flyers in goals and points over the last five games with five and seven, respectively. He has 44 points in 48 games, which isn’t the highest on the team (behind Travis Konecny), but is still enough to be on pace to shatter his career high in that statistical category.
This is the first of two matchups against the Wild this season, with the second coming in late March. An interesting tidbit is that both of these games will be on ESPN in some capacity, this one being broadcast on ESPN+ exclusively and the other being nationally televised from Wells Fargo Center.
Players to Watch
Although Scott Laughton doesn’t have the most flattering stat line against the Wild, he has had an impressive one over the last 10 games with 3 goals and 5 assists for 8 points and 22 shots, which is the fourth highest total among all Flyers forwards over that span. He has been an important depth contributor to the team, which isn’t a surprise to many, but what may be one is that he’s on pace to break his best career point total as well. He could be a factor tonight.
The young forward hailing from Massachussets has been a key contributor to the Wild since breaking into the NHL. Matt Boldy is not performing at a ridiculous level as of late, with only 6 points in the last 10 games, but he did just sign a 7-year, $7 million per year extension with the Wild. He has 33 points in 46 games in 2022-23 and 2 points in 2 games against the Flyers in his young career.
James van Riemsdyk — Morgan Frost — Owen Tippett
Joel Farabee — Noah Cates — Travis Konecny
Kevin Hayes — Scott Laughton — Wade Allison
Nicolas Deslauriers — Patrick Brown — Zack MacEwen
Ivan Provorov — Cam York
Travis Sanheim — Tony DeAngelo
Nick Seeler — Rasmus Ristolainen
How to Watch
Puck Drop: 8:00 pm ET
Where: Xcel Energy Center
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
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