The Blackhawks are in Philly this Thursday, where they’ll take on the Philadelphia Flyers. The Hawks have never won a regular-season game the Wells Fargo Center and Chicago’s last regular-season win in Philadelphia was on Nov. 9 1996.
But don’t worry, everyone. They’ve won four of the last five. They’re set, right?
The Flyers are currently seventh in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 19-19-7 and a total of 45 points. They won their last game against the Ducks on Tuesday by a 5-2 score but, yeah, they also were playing the Ducks — not exactly a competitive team. But Philly’s also won eight of its last 10 games.
The Flyers’ point leader is forward Travis Konecny, who has clocked 24 goals and 24 assists in 39 games. He notched two assists in that last game against the Ducks and has seven points (4 G, 3 A) in the last five games — including a hat trick last Wednesday against the Washington Capitals.
Another key Flyers player to watch is center Kevin Hayes, who has 40 points this season, including his first career hat trick on yesterday. He shoots left and is a big player on the power play because of his size and his shot, currently tied for second on the team with four PPGs. He actually was selected in the 2010 NHL Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks with the No. 24 pick, though he spent the early part of his career with the Rangers after opting to not sign with Chicago.
However, most talk about the Flyers recently has revolved around D Ivan Provorov’s boycott of the Flyers’ LGBTQ+ Pride night, when he refused to wear the pregame Pride jersey because of his Russian Orthodox religious beliefs. He also refused to provide a stick or a jersey to auction off for charity. Coach John Tortorella said he did not consider scratching Provorov for his protest, so Provorov played in the game — just not particularly well.
maybe provorov's play for the past few years has been so mediocre that he took issue with expressing the feeling of pride— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) January 18, 2023
The Blackhawks, on the other hand, have won four of their last five games (wow!). Max Domi is still the team’s point leader with 13 goals and 17 assists for a total of 30 points, though he did not add any more to his tally against the Sabres on Tuesday.
The Toews’ line has carried the brunt of the Hawks’ offense recently, and on Tuesday against Buffalo they were the only line with a positive expected goal share (52.55 percent). Phillip Kurashev played particularly well last game, netting a career-high point total of one goal and two assists. Seth Jones (2 G, 1 A) really held up the blue line — specifically in the 3rd period — and hopefully he can keep up the momentum.
The Hawks haven’t played the Flyers yet this season, but they tallied a W at home and an L away. This season, Philadelphia is outscoring the Hawks with 2.82 goals per game compared to Chicago’s 2.33, but the Blackhawks are 31st in the league, while the Flyers are just 26th. Philly is slightly better at with 3.20 goals against per game (18th in the league), while Chicago is 28th at 3.69. One key for the Blackhawks could be a strong start, as Chicago does have a better record when scoring first (8-3-2) than the Flyers (8-6-2).
The Flyers still have four players on injured reserve, although three have been out all season, including forwards Cam Atkinson and Sean Couturier and defenseman Ryan Ellis. Forward Tanner Laczysnki week-to-week on IR, having been there since early December.
As for the Blackhawks, they have two players still on IR: Jujhar Khaira and Jarred Tinordi. And though he’s not on IR yet, Alex Stalock was placed back into concussion protocol earlier this week.
Overall, the Hawks just have an ugly statistical record, ranking 32nd in even-strength offense, 29th in even-strength defense, and 27th in special teams. But here’s to hoping that they can ride out their win streak and end that 27-year-old drought for regular season games in Philadelphia — primarily because I find that stat horrifying.
Let’s go Hawks.
Tale of the Tape
Blackhawks — Statistic — Flyers
42.59% (32nd) — 5-on-5 Corsi For — 47.10% (25th)
41.28% (31st) — 5-on-5 Expected goals for — 45.93% (26th)
2.33 (31st) — Goals per game — 2.82 (26th)
3.69 (28th) — Goals against per game — 3.20 (18th)
56.4% (1st) — Faceoffs — 46.0% (28th)
20.3% (22nd) — Power play — 16.3% (30th)
74.4% (24th) — Penalty kill — 75.8% (20th)
How to watch
When: 6 p.m. CT
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Radio: WGN 720
Live stream: Sling TV
(Quick note: The projected lineups will be part of another article that’ll run later in the day as part of a shift in how we handle previews here.)