The Philadelphia Flyers return to the ice to open a two-game series with the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Coming off a nightmare of a series in Boston, which saw the Flyers drop the opener 5-4 in a shootout after blowing multiple third-period leads, and then a 6-1 drubbing in the second game, the Orange and Black are looking to get back on track.
At first glance, many fans would think this series should be a walk in the park, as the Devils were looked at as a basement dweller in the loaded East Division. However, New Jersey has actually been playing some good hockey to open the year, as they currently sit in third place, in front of the Flyers in the East Division.
The Battle between the pipes.
The rivals to the north have been led by some really strong play in net (what else is new?). Their elite young goaltender, MacKenzie Blackwood, has been sensational so far between the pipes this year. Through his first three starts of the 2020-2021 season, Blackwood has compiled a 2-0-1 record along with a GAA of 1.90 and a SV% of .948. Pretty darn good. Luckily for the Flyers, it does appear Blackwood may miss the opener of this series, as he is still currently in COVID-19 protocol and his status for Tuesday’s game is in doubt.
His teammate, Scott Wedgewood, would be in line to start for the Devils, and while not of Blackwood’s caliber, he himself is a steady player between the pipes. Through his first two starts of the season, the 28-year-old veteran has compiled a record of 1-1-0 with a GAA of 2.00 and a SV% of .937. It is safe to say the Devils are in good shape in the net.
The Flyers, on the other hand, will be starting veteran goaltender Brian Elliott in game one. Elliott is coming off a 40 save shutout in his only start of the season and typically provides steady play in net for the Orange and Black.
You would think Carter Hart will be in line to return for game two of this series, and I would be shocked if he was not between the pipes for the Flyers. He has been a bit shaky in his last couple of starts, but his defense has been abysmal, and there are many circumstances where Hart really had no chance to make the save.