Preview: Flyers at Devils
The Philadelphia Flyers bid to feed off the momentum of ending their season-high eight-game winless skid (0-6-2) and move out of the cellar of the Metropolitan Division on Saturday afternoon when they visit the New Jersey Devils. The Flyers' first victory since Dec. 23 lifted the club to within one point of the Devils, who have scored just five goals during their three-game skid.
James van Riemsdyk answered being demoted to the fourth line in Tuesday's 5-3 setback to Washington by recording his sixth multi-point performance of the season with a goal and an assist two nights later in a 2-1 win over Dallas. "I'm in a new situation, a new team and I want to try to get my bearings right, and there's always something you can clarify so things become second nature," said the 29-year-old New Jersey native, who has just seven goals since signing a five-year, $35 million contract in the offseason. The Devils are experiencing trouble finding the net as well, with Blake Coleman and fourth-liner Brian Boyle accounting for all of the team's offense in a 26-second span late in the middle session of Thursday's 4-2 setback versus Toronto. The 27-year-old Coleman has scored three times in four games to lift his career-high total to 14, with one goal coming to highlight a three-point performance in New Jersey's 3-0 triumph in Philadelphia on Nov. 15.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, NHL Network, Sportsnet, NBCS Philadelphia, MSG-Plus (New Jersey)
ABOUT THE FLYERS (16-22-6): In addition to ending the team's winless skid, rookie Carter Hart snapped a personal five-game slide (0-4-1) by turning aside a career-best 37 shots versus the Stars to improve to 3-2-1 at home this season. "He's been unbelievable," forward Travis Konecny said of the 20-year-old Hart, who will start Saturday's matinee. "We feel bad for him. He stood on his head a bunch of games for us ... and has given us a good opportunity." The 21-year-old Konecny boosted his career point total to 99 after scoring early the second period on Thursday for his second goal in four games and 11th of the season, with one coming in Philadelphia's 5-2 win over visiting New Jersey on Oct. 20.
ABOUT THE DEVILS (16-20-7): While New Jersey was pleased with the quick-strike offense late in the second period, Kyle Palmieri (club-best 20 goals) is looking at the bigger picture as the Devils plummet in the standings. "There's no moral victories at this point. We need to start stringing together wins and playing complete games and giving ourselves a shot," the 27-year-old Palmieri said. Palmieri missed out on the "Last Men In" voting for the All-Star Game, but could still suit up for the exhibition contest should reigning Hart Trophy recipient Taylor Hall be unable to play.
1. Hall, who is the team leader in assists (26) and points (37), is expected to miss his ninth straight game due to a lower-body injury.
2. Philadelphia acquired D Jacob Graves and a sixth-round draft pick in 2019 from Arizona on Friday in exchange for C Jordan Weal, who had three goals and six assists in 28 contests this season.
3. New Jersey G Keith Kinkaid, who has started 30 games this season, turned aside all 29 shots he faced in the most recent encounter versus the Flyers to improve his career mark versus the club to 7-2-0.
PREDICTION: Devils 3, Flyers 2