NHL Game Day: Flyers look to blow away Leafs; Predators take on Stars; and Wild face Yotes

Previewing today's NHL games

NHL Game Day
Nov 6, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Martin Jones (35) celebrates with Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle (3) after their game against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL schedule has only three games on tap. It all gets started with the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs looking to slow down the Flyers.

One of general manager Chuck Fletcher’s biggest priorities in the offseason was to improve the Philadelphia Flyers’ depth. He made a number of key moves and they’ve paid off as the Flyers continue to deal with some difficult injuries.

Maple Leafs vs Flyers (7:30 PM ET)

Philadelphia will look to improve on its impressive 6-2-2 start when it hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

Ellis, a defenseman, was brought in specifically to help the penalty kill unit, which was abysmal last season. Ellis has missed the last seven games with a lower-body injury and it’s unclear if he’ll return to face the Maple Leafs, according to head coach Alain Vigneault after Tuesday’s practice.

Hayes, however, remains out.

“Guys are stepping up,” Justin Braun said. “Those guys are world-class players, but I think everyone in their new roles has done a really good job. That’s what you want to have. When it’s a long season, guys are going to be in and out all year, (you want) guys who can step in and do a good job.”

Following a five-game winning streak, the Maple Leafs were soundly defeated 5-1 by the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

But only one of their seven victories has come on the road.

John Tavares scored the lone goal for the Maple Leafs, but the defense had too many breakdowns and goaltender Jack Campbell gave up five goals.

Predators vs Stars (8:30 PM ET)

phiNov 7, 2021; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Dallas Stars defenseman Ryan Suter (20) celebrates his goal against the Vancouver Canucks in the third period at Rogers Arena. Canucks won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Even before Sunday night’s 6-3 loss at Vancouver was over, Dallas Stars coach Rick Bowness knew what his team’s practice plan would be when they arrived back home.

“We’ll have to address this on Tuesday morning when we go back to the rink,” Bowness said. “We’re going to have to fix the penalty kill, we’re going to have to fix the discipline and we’re going to have to fix the consistency with which we play the game.”

The Stars open a three-game homestand Wednesday against Central Division rival Nashville.

The Predators are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss Sunday at Chicago.

In the midst of a six-game road swing, the Predators returned home after that game as they weren’t scheduled to play again until Wednesday.

“It’s important for the guys to be able to get home and get a day off,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “You know, it’s a difficult trip, obviously from the U.S. to Canada and all the things that go into that. Very competitive opponents. And so I think it’s a well-deserved day off (Monday), and let them get back and see their families and get away from it a little bit and then we’ll come back energized on Tuesday and get ready for a big game again.”

Wild vs Coyotes (10 PM ET)

Opposite ends of the NHL’s Central Division will meet Wednesday when the Minnesota Wild head to the desert to face the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale.

On a three-game winning streak, following a four-game winning run to open the season, the Wild are on an offensive roll with five goals in each of the last three victories, including one overtime and one shootout win. The Wild entered play Tuesday in first place in the Central.

Minnesota is coming off a 5-2 victory at home Sunday over the New York Islanders when they erupted for four goals in the final 13-plus minutes of the game. Ryan Hartman scored the game-tying goal at 7:17 of the third period and added an assist on Brandon Duhaime’s go-ahead goal two minutes later.

“It’s stressful going into that third period, but at the same time, we’ve done it so many times that it almost feels normal at this rate,” Duhaime said. “It just shows the resilience in the group, and we stick together until the end.”

The last-place Coyotes are off to a brutal start, going winless in their first 11 games. But they will enter off Saturday’s 5-4 victory at home over the expansion Seattle Kraken.

“At some point you say, ‘OK, we’re playing well,’ but it gets heavy mentally,” Coyotes head coach Andre Tourigny said. “So, I was looking at the players and they put their hearts in it, and they invest themselves in it and they have nothing to show for it. … For the players to stay with it, dig in and believe in the process — believe in themselves, trust in each other — that was huge.”

The Wild were atop the Central on Tuesday thanks to a plus-one goal differential. The Coyotes are easily the worst in the NHL with a minus-30 differential.

–Field Level Media