It’s been a little bit, but the 8-3-2 Philadelphia Flyers are back in action after being shutdown for COVID protocol. The Flyers will face off against the 4-7-3 New York Rangers.

Here’s what to watch tonight:

Return after COVID break

The Flyers will play their first game in 10 days, last taking on the Washington Capitals on Feb. 7, which snapped a two-game streak.

The Flyers have earned points in six of their last seven games (5-1-1) and despite not playing in 10 days, they remain in third place in the East Division with 18 points and are seventh in the NHL in win percentage (.692).

The Flyers go into tonight with seven players on Wednesday’s COVID protocol list. Those seven are Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, Scott Laughton, Jakub Voracek, Morgan Frost, Claude Giroux, and Justin Braun. All of those players will be out tonight.

After earning points in four straight games from Jan. 28-Feb. 4, going 3-0-1, the Rangers come into tonight on a four-game losing streak where they have gone 0-3-1 and have been outscored 11-4.

Missing stars

The Flyers will be missing some stars tonight due to COVID-19.

The Flyers will go into tonight with seven players on Wednesday’s COVID protocol list. Those seven are Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, Scott Laughton, Jakub Voracek, Morgan Frost, Claude Giroux, and Justin Braun. All of those players will be out tonight.

These seven players have all been key players for the Flyers, it’ll be rough without them.

With those seven players on the COVID protocol list, three Flyers’ forwards are set to make their season debut tonight. Those players are David Kase, Andy Andreoff, and Maksim Sushko (it will be the NHL debut Sushko).

Scuffed lineup

The Flyers will still be without the services of Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, Justin Braun, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, and Travis Konecny on Thursday. Winning is never a sure thing in the NHL and the task becomes even more difficult when you’re without three of your leading scorers and a couple more extremely important role players.

Obviously, with so many players out, the team that will be taking the ice looks…a bit different. During Wednesday’s practice, the team ran the following lines:

Forwards

JVR – Couturier – Farabee

Raffl – Hayes – NAK

Bunnaman – Patrick – Kase

Morin – Andreoff – Sushko

Defense

Provorov – Myers

Sanheim – Ghost

Hägg – Gustafsson

At first glance…woof, this is pretty bad. That fourth line is quite unappealing. Also, the third defensive pairing is still pretty ugly. That being said, it isn’t all doom and gloom.

James Van Riemsdyk and Joel Farabee should be able to create offense at will alongside Sean Couturier. The Hayes line looks like a formidable forechecking threat, and consists of three of the teams best “swiss army knife” players, capable of playing in any situation at either end of the ice.

Beyond that, this is a big opportunity to Nolan Patrick to be the play driver on his line and step his game to the next level. David Kase and Connor Bunnaman are not slouches, but in order for that line to be successful, Patrick will have to lead the way. Kase has shown a knack for being in the right place at the right time during his brief stint with the team last season, so perhaps he can work some magic with the highly-skilled Patrick.

As far as the fourth line goes, fans should enter the game with the lowest of expectations and perhaps hope to be pleasantly surprised as the game goes on. Sam Morin didn’t have the best audition in his first game on the wing and Andy Andreoff is an AHL forward at this point in his career.

This line does serve as a nice chance for fans to see Maksim Sushko a little closer though, as he may be a prospect most fans don’t immediately think of when they envision the Flyers of the future. Sushko has excelled on the World Juniors stage and appeared to be settling in with the Phantoms last year. Like I said, it’s unreasonable to expect too much from them under the circumstances, but they might just surprise us.

Tonight’s essentials

  • When: 7:00 P.M. E.S.T.
  • Where: Wells Fargo Center  
  • Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia 
  • Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
  • Social media coverage: Philly Sports Reports’ Twitter & Instagram

It’ll be tough for they Flyers without key pieces, but for a fan’s sake, they better win!