The Flyers will start a three-game road trip against one of the best teams in the league without leading scorer Travis Konecny. Given the makeshift lineup and the back-to-backs they have over the weekend, getting three points this week would be commendable. Four or more would be terrific.
The Flyers are 17-8-5 (39 points) and have a one-point lead for third place in the Metro Division. Last season at this juncture, they had just 28 points (12-14-4) and were one game away from firing coach Dave Hakstol.
Here’s a look at the week ahead.
Game No. 31: At Colorado, Wednesday (9:30 p.m., NBCSN)
About the Avalanche: Lead the league in scoring at 3.70 goals per game, and had a six-game winning streak snapped Monday when they lost in overtime to Calgary. ... Colorado is 8-1-2 against Eastern Conference teams, including Saturday’s win at Boston. It was the Bruins’ first home loss in regulation. ... Nathan MacKinnon is third in the league in scoring with 47 points and tied for third with 19 goals. He had three points in Colorado’s two wins over the Flyers last October. ... Defenseman Cale Makar, a leading Rookie of the Year candidate, did not play Monday after taking a seemingly innocuous hit from Boston’s Brad Marchand two days earlier. Makar, like the rest of humanity, is day to day. Starting goalie Philipp Grubauer (lower body) also had to leave the Boston game and DNP Monday. ... Former Washington Capital Andre Burakovsky is off to a hot start. His 12 goals equal last year’s output, and he’s already closing in on his career high of 17. Burakovsky, oddly, has scored exactly 12 goals in each of the last four years.
Where they stand: 19-8-3, one point behind St. Louis (with a game in hand entering Tuesday) in the Central Division. The Avalanche are riding the momentum of last spring when they beat top-seeded Calgary in the first round and took Dallas to seven games in the conference semis. Dangerous team.
Game No. 32: At Minnesota, Saturday (7 p.m., NBCSP)
About the Wild: Had a five-game winning streak snapped Saturday in Carolina. Will host Anaheim tonight and Edmonton on Thursday. ... Defenseman Jared Spurgeon has an upper-body injury (thought to be a hand or arm) and will not play. He averages 22 minutes. Mikko Koivu (lower body) is eligible to come off the injured list Thursday. ... Mats Zuccarello, who played five seasons under Alain Vigneault with the Rangers, is the right winger on Eric Staal’s top line. Jason Zucker, tied with Staal for the team high with 21 points, plays the left side. ... Wild coach Bruce Boudreau splits his goalies just about 50-50. Alex Stalock is 8-4-2 in 15 starts. Devan Dubnyk is 4-8-2 in 13 starts. ... Ryan Hartman, who was acquired by the Flyers for Wayne Simmonds and later sent to Dallas for Tyler Pitlick, centers the fourth line. ... The Flyers have won four of their last five in Minnesota. The Wild will visit the Wells Fargo Center on March 14.
Where they stand: Steadied themselves after a 4-9 start. Are 14-12-4 (32 points) and are two back of Vancouver for the final wild-card spot.
Game No. 33: At Winnipeg, Sunday (5 p.m., NBCSP+)
About the Jets: Have points in six of their last seven heading into Tuesday night’s game against visiting Detroit. Will play at Detroit on Thursday .... Will play in Philly on Feb. 22. ... Are third in the NHL in fewest PIM per game. The Flyers are tied for fifth. ... The Jets are 12-2-2 in one-goal games, most wins in the league. The Flyers are 9-1-5. ... Nikolaj Ehlers got into a fight with Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf on Sunday even though Getzlaf has around 50 pounds on Ehlers. “That dude has got some fire in his belly, for sure" Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler observed. "That was pretty awesome.“ The Flyers are 0-2-1 in their last three visits to Manitoba.
Where they stand: Have 38 points in 30 games (18-10-2) and are on an 8-2-1 run to move into third place in the Central Division.
The Flyers went 2-1, including a tough win over Ottawa on Saturday after losing Konecny. They pulled away from Toronto, but lost to Arizona. The Flyers have gone four consecutive games without a power-play goal, their longest slump of the season.
Our three stars for the week
1. Scott Laughton (2g, 1 GWG)
2. Matt Niskanen (1g, 1a, +3)
3. Claude Giroux (1 GWG, 65.0 FO%)
» READ MORE: Konecny out indefinitely, Myers also limping
He said it
Scott Laughton said his father, Craig, was the inspiration for his stellar play when Saturday’s game against Ottawa got nasty.
“He’s got a couple screws loose up top. He kind of taught me that from a young age. You’ve got to step up when [games] like that go south. Just try to play the body and be hungry. That’s what I tried to do here.”
Laughton scored the game-winning goal and was a general nuisance throughout the afternoon as the Flyers won without Konecny.