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Flyers-Golden Knights: Game 1 Preview

3-12-2018_FlyersvsGoldenKnights_3rd_credKateFrese-6

(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It is officially opening day for the Flyers. The NHL season opened on Wednesday night, but the Flyers take the ice for the first time on Thursday night, marking a new beginning with the start of the 2018-19 season.

The Flyers first opponent is certainly a challenge, the team that defied the odds a year ago to be Western Conference Champions. The Vegas Golden Knights, and the fanfare of a home opener and banner ceremony, await as the first of 82 opponents for the Flyers.

Game time is set for 10 p.m.

Team Leaders (2017-18)

Philadelphia Flyers GP G A P Vegas Golden Knights GP G A P
Claude Giroux 82 34 68 102 William Karlsson 82 43 35 78
Jake Voracek 82 20 65 85 Jonathan Marchessault 77 27 48 75
Sean Couturier 82 31 45 76 Reilly Smith 67 22 38 60
Shayne Gostisbehere 78 13 52 65 Erik Haula 76 29 26 55
Travis Konecny 81 24 23 47 Colin Miller 82 10 31 41
 
Player to Watch
28 Claude Giroux 71 William Karlsson
Last 5 Games: N/A Last 5 Games: N/A
 
After last season, how can you not look to Claude Giroux. The first and last goals of the regular season belonged to the Flyers captain last season and after putting up a career-high 102 points and leading his team to the playoffs, Giroux is ready for more.
 
You could really pick anybody from Vegas' top line, but it was William Karlsson who came from out of nowhere to score 43 goals last season. Whether on the power play, penalty kill or even strength, he's always a threat.
 
Goalie Matchup
37 Brian Elliott 29 Marc-Andre Fleury
2017-18: 23-11-7, 2.66 GAA, .909 SV% 2017-18: 29-13-4, 2.24 GAA, .927 SV%

Brian Elliott gets the start for the Flyers in the season opener. He had a decent regular season in 2017-18, but suffered an injury down the stretch and never really recovered enough to get back to form. He gets a fresh start in 2018-19.

It was a year of resurgence for Marc-Andre Fleury in 2017-18. He had a tremendous year with great numbers all the way through, though he did miss time with injury. He was also excellent throughout the playoff run until the Stanley Cup Final, when the Golden Knights ultimately fell short. Either way, now locked into a nice new contract with Vegas, Fleury is here to stay and set to embark on another season.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Injuries: Michal Neuvirth, Corban Knight, Alex Lyon

Scratches: Jordan Weal, Dale Weise, Christian Folin

Left Wing Center Right Wing
28 Claude Giroux 14 Sean Couturier 11 Travis Konecny
23 Oskar Lindblom 19 Nolan Patrick 93 Jake Voracek
25 James van Riemsdyk 24 Mikhail Vorobyev 17 Wayne Simmonds
21 Scott Laughton 15 Jori Lehtera 12 Michael Raffl
Defense    
9 Ivan Provorov 53 Shayne Gostisbehere  
6 Travis Sanheim 3 Radko Gudas  
8 Robert Hagg 47 Andrew MacDonald  
Goalie    
37 Brian Elliott    

Lineup Notes

Not too many surprises in the Flyers lineup to start the season. Jori Lehtera starts at center on the fourth line, presumably to keep Scott Laughton on the wing. This pushes Jordan Weal out of the lineup. Dale Weise and Christian Folin are the other healthy scratches.

Golden Knights Projected Lineup

Injuries: Cody Eakin, Alex Tuch

Scratches: Jake Bischoff, Brad Hunt

Left Wing Center Right Wing
81 Jonathan Marchessault 71 William Karlsson 19 Reilly Smith
67 Max Pacioretty 26 Paul Stastny 56 Erik Haula
92 Tomas Nosek 24 Oskar Lindberg 40 Ryan Carpenter
28 Will Carrier 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 75 Ryan Reaves
Defense    
3 Brayden McNabb 6 Colin Wilson  
27 Shea Theodore 5 Deryk Engelland  
15 Jon Merrill 22 Nick Holden  
Goalie    
29 Marc-Andre Fleury    

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (2017-18: T-15th, 4th on road), Golden Knights (2017-18: 11th, 10th at home)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (2017-18: 29th, 24th on road), Golden Knights (2017-18: T-10th, T-7th at home) 
  • Recent History vs. Golden Knights
    • Feb. 11, 2018 - Flyers 4, Golden Knights 1 (at VGK)
    • March 12, 2018 - Golden Knights 3, Flyers 2 (at PHI)
  • Flyers Leaders vs. Golden Knights
    • Claude Giroux - 2 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 P
    • Sean Couturier - 2 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 4 P
    • Travis Konecny - 2 GP, 0 G, 3 A, 3 P
  • Milestone Watch
    • Claude Giroux needs 1 assist to pass Bill Barber for 3rd on the Flyers all-time list.
    • Jake Voracek needs 2 assists to reach 400 in the NHL.
    • James van Riemsdyk need 1 point to reach 100 as a Flyer.

Where to Watch
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBCSN
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

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