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Flyers-Canucks: Game 1 Preview

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It's a new beginning for the Philadelphia Flyers. It's a team trying to focus on putting a disappointing and frustrating season in the rearview mirror. It's a team that brings a number of new faces to the lineup. And it's all about to begin in this 2021-22 season.

The Flyers open things up on Friday night at Wells Fargo Center going against the Vancouver Canucks. After last season, it's already refreshing for the Flyers to be facing a team from the Western Conference that they haven't seen in quite some time. It also marks the first chance for this new group of players to make their mark on the team and start the season off on a positive note.

Game time is at 7 p.m.

Team Leaders (2020-21 Season Stats for Flyers - Returning Players Only)

Philadelphia Flyers GP G A P Vancouver Canucks GP G A P
James van Riemsdyk 56 17 26 43 Nils Hoglander 1 0 2 2
Claude Giroux 54 16 27 43 Oliver Ekman-Larsson 1 1 0 1
Sean Couturier 45 18 23 41 Quinn Hughes 1 1 0 1
Joel Farabee 55 20 18 38 Conor Garland 1 0 1 1
Travis Konecny 50 11 23 34 J.T. Miller 1 0 1 1

Players To Watch 10-15

There weren't many positives to take away from last season, but Joel Farabee's growth was certainly one. From his four-point game to open the season to a two-goal game in the finale that capped off a 20-goal season, Farabee enters the 2021-22 season with a fresh contract in hand and ready to continue showing his growth.
 
Elias Pettersson is a budding star in Vancouver, but last season similarly was rough as he missed significant time, playing in just 26 games. He still scored 10 goals and 21 points in that time, and had 25-goal seasons in his first two years, so he's always one to watch, especially on the power play.
 
Goalie Matchup 10-15

It's all about redemption for Carter Hart, and that all starts on Friday night. Hart's 2020-21 season was obviously one to forget, but his overall body of work in his career has been solid. He was given a vote of confidence with his contract in the offseason and he has a clean slate to start the season.

Thatcher Demko's 2021-22 season got off to good start, making 32 saves on 34 shots despite taking the loss in a shootout on Wednesday. Demko had a career-high save percentage last season at .915.

Projected Lineups

Flyers Line Combos 10-15

Flyers Scratches: Rasmus Ristolainen (injury), Patrick Brown (COVID protocol), Jackson Cates (healthy)

Opponent Line Combos 10-15

Canucks Scratches: Brock Boeser (injury), Brandon Sutter (injury), Tyler Motte (injury), Luke Schenn (healthy), Nic Petan (healthy), Brad Hunt (healthy)

Lineup Notes

  • Flyers: The Flyers are without Rasmus Ristolainen for the season opener, though he did take the morning skate and appears to be close to returning. Nick Seeler will play on the third pairing. Max Willman makes his NHL debut as waiver claims Patrick Brown and Zack MacEwen are both unavailable.  
  • Canucks: The Canucks will use the same lineup as they did for their season opener on Wednesday in Edmonton. They remain without Brock Boeser, who is on the road trip, but was not able to play in the opener. 

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (N/A), Canucks (16th)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (N/A), Canucks (22nd)
  • Recent History vs. Canucks
    • Oct. 12, 2019 - Canucks 3, Flyers 2 (F/SO) (at VAN)
    • Nov. 25, 2019 - Flyers 2, Canucks 1 (at PHI)
  • Flyers Leaders vs. Canucks
    • Claude Giroux - 18 GP, 4 G, 10 A, 14 P
    • Cam Atkinson - 16 GP, 5 G, 5 A, 10 P
    • Carter Hart - 3 GP, 2-0-1, 1.30 GAA, .952 SV%
  • Milestone Watch
    • Carter Hart needs one win to reach 50 for his career.
    • Keith Yandle needs two assists to reach 500 for his career.

Where to Watch
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 93.3 WMMR/97.3 ESPN

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