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Stars Look To Garner Points Against The Flyers

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Gritty teams show up in the first period and don’t turtle in the third period, but hey, at least the Stars aren’t Gritty.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Philadelphia Flyers
The Dallas Stars take on a goaltender-challenged Philadelphia Flyers team sandwiched between games with the St. Louis Blues.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

There was some thought given to turning the preview for the Dallas Stars against the Philadelphia Flyers into a sequence of Gritty GIFs. But this morning, I woke up to this:

How can you not be fired up about attending this one? You even get a Koozie! Almost makes you wish you were in the City of Brotherly Love.

The Flyers’ marketing department is Gritty. They have figured out that they need to try something to make this game interesting to the masses. But bad things can happen to Gritty people.

Looking at the standings, this is another one that the Stars should win, and in fact, need to win. As Brett Severyn will say multiple times on Stars Live, they need to garner points.

That’s what Dallas did on Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues. They didn’t get a shot off until Roman Polak lobbed one in from the point with 9:36 remaining in the first period. They put two shots on net in the third. Ben Bishop did his voodoo goalie thing, and when he wasn’t in the vicinity, Esa Lindell was there to sacrifice the body to hold the Blues at bay.

Garnering points. Nice for the playoff chances. Perhaps even entertaining, at least for fans of horror movies. The kind where you know something bad is going to happen, and you know that guy in the old white hockey mask is somewhere close by.

Who knows, maybe its safe to go outside to check on that noise all by yourself. You never know...

Poll

What is Gritty?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Child Friendly Flyer Mascot
    (12 votes)
  • 33%
    Quinoa Salad, Poorly Washed
    (26 votes)
  • 25%
    Skill Challenged Hockey Player
    (20 votes)
  • 24%
    John Wayne
    (19 votes)
77 votes total Vote Now

The Flyers have had problems in several areas this year, mostly dealing with the defensive zone. When goaltender Mike McKenna started Tuesday night against the Washington Capitals, he became the seventh netminder that Philadelphia has used this year, matching an NHL record. Not surprisingly, the Flyers sit dead last in save percentage at .879.

Philadelphia is in the midst of a 1-7-2 stretch, and in what may be overkill, are getting obliterated in the second period.

They are also bottom five in goals against (156) and penalty kill percentage (75.18). Radko Gudas is the veteran presence on the blue line at the age of 28. Gudas pairs with Shayne Gostisbehere, offering a physical presence for the Flyer’s version of John Klingberg. For a group that is not overly large, Philadelphia will get physical. Coverage is the issue, and the Stars could find themselves with more open ice than they have seen since the game with the Detroit Red Wings.

In the offensive zone, the Philadelphia top line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Travis Konecny have been consistent producers, with all three in double digits for goals scored and assists. Wayne Simmonds remains a net-front threat and as the trade deadline approaches, his expiring contract will make him an intriguing option for a team looking for secondary scoring.

That 11-14-28 first line falls solidly into the “good” quadrant.

Philadelphia Flyers Lineup

Claude Giroux - Sean Couturier - Travis Konecny
Jakub Voracek - Nolan Patrick - Oskar Lindblom
James van Riemsdyk - Jordan Weal - Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl - Scott Laughton - Dale Weise

Ivan Provorov - Travis Sanheim
Shayne Gostisbehere - Radko Gudas
Robert Hagg - Christian Folin

Carter Hart

Dallas Stars Lineup

Subject to change after morning skate.

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Valeri Nichushkin - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick
Devin Shore - Jason Spezza - Erik Condra
Mattias Janmark - Roope Hintz - Blake Comeau

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Roman Polak
Julius Honka - Taylor Fedun

Anton Khudobin

Keys to the Game

  • There have been times this year when the game opens up and the Stars lose their defensive structure. The Stars should see plenty of open ice in Philadelphia, but if the defense activates, the third forward in needs to be there to back up the play at the blue line.
  • Last year, these teams played two overtime games. This is no time for a letdown game. The Flyers will do what they can to knock the Stars off of their groove — two years ago, they got Jason Spezza to fight. Garner points.
  • Let’s go for something different, like secondary scoring. Benn-Seguin-Radulov-Klingberg have been all over the scoresheet; it’s time to spread that around.
  • It doesn’t impact the outcome, but doesn’t a Gudas/Polak tilt sound entertaining?

Did you know? The Stars’ record when they have 50 percent or more 5-on-5 offensive zone starts is 2-10-3.