With the 2018-19 NHL season lurking, it’s time to take a look at some of the can’t-miss games for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Las Vegas Golden Knights – October 4th, 2018 – T Mobile Arena
As if opening night for the Philadelphia Flyers couldn’t get any more high pressure, why not put them against the reigning Western Conference champions? Oh, and did I mention they’ll be facing the Knights at home, where last season they maintained a compelling record of 29-10-2? Maybe things will be different due to some offseason changes for the Knights, you think? Not exactly. The only key scorer that Las Vegas has lost in the offseason was James Neal, who contributed 25 goals and 19 assists last season, and just recently signed a five-year contract with the Calgary Flames. Although the odds may seem against them, the Flyers found some good luck in Vegas last season, defeating the Knights, 4-1. The stakes will be high, as Philadelphia seeks a similar result in Sin City on opening night of the 2018-19 campaign.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Buffalo Sabres – November 21st, 2018 – KeyBank Center
I know what you’re thinking here. How could we possibly be talking about the Buffalo Sabres in a “must watch” list? Hear me out. The Buffalo Sabres had arguably the most transformational offseason. To start, they selected Rasmus Dahlin with the number one overall pick in the 2018 draft. Time will tell if he pans out like many hope, but he is clearly leaning more toward productive than bust. As if a prime defensive prospect wasn’t enough, the Sabres acquired some new offensive blood as well this offseason. The additions of Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Berglund, Jeff Skinner, and Conor Sheary, who combined for 136 points last season, will clearly give the previously inconsistent Buffalo offense a serious boost. However, scoring means nothing if you can’t keep the puck out of the net. This is where Buffalo made a massive upgrade from the Robin Lehner/Chad Johnson tandem of last year. On July 1st, the Sabres signed FA goaltender Carter Hutton, who excelled last season to the tune of a 17-7-3 record, 2.09 GAA and a .931 save percentage last season with the St. Louis Blues. The Buffalo Sabres have improved in every area this offseason, and although they may not make a Cup run right away, they should still provide a much more exciting matchup for the Flyers than in years past.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Washington Capitals – January 8th, 2019 – Capital One Arena
I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. The reigning Stanley Cup Champions, in their house. Although the odds may seem to be in Washington’s favor, Philadelphia has proven that they can hold their own against the Caps. Last year, the Flyers dominated Washington in three out of four games, while outscoring them by a margin of 19-11. Both teams have made some changes in the offseason, with the Capitals seeing the notable departure of head coach Barry Trotz, as well as Jay Beagle. Now that Washington has tasted a championship, will a new head coach be able to carry them to another Stanley Cup victory? Tensions are always high when these two teams meet up, and that is one thing that we know will continue in the 2018-19 season.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – February 23rd, 2019 – Lincoln Financial Field
This is where things could go very badly yet again for the Philadelphia Flyers in the upcoming season. The Orange and Black failed to register a single win against the inter-state rivals last season. They were blown out on multiple occasions, and if that wasn’t bad enough, they were faced with a first-round Stanley Cup Playoff matchup against the western Pennsylvania powerhouse. Ah, things were hopeful in the city of brotherly love, but alas, they were bested in 6 games, while suffering some embarrassing moments like in Game 1, when they lost 7-0. The Flyers will be looking for a reset in 2018-19 against the division rival, and hopefully will see some positive results. To make a Flyers/Penguins matchup even more high-pressure, this one will be hitting the great outdoors at Lincoln Financial Field. Hopefully, some of that Eagles’ Super Bowl luck will rub off on the Pattison Avenue neighbors.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs – March 27th, 2019 – Wells Fargo Center
This matchup between Toronto and the Flyers could prove to have playoff implications for both teams, as this comes at a crucial time of the year. With the matchup coming this late in the season, both teams will be vying for points to carry them into the postseason, and both have proven offensive weapons that will be in full form. The Leafs could also see an even bigger boost in offense this coming year with the homecoming of John Tavares to Toronto. It will also provide an interesting dynamic for James VanReimsdyk, who will again face his former team and may get a prime opportunity to play spoiler for his former club. Neither team has made any major changes in defense or goaltending, but these scoring forwards could prove to shake up the offense for their respective teams. Offensive changes coupled with possible playoff spots on the line will make this a matchup that you won’t want to miss.
Also on the radar…
Philadelphia Flyers vs. San Jose Sharks – October 9th, 2018 – Wells Fargo Center (Opening Night in Philadelphia)
Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Rangers – November 23rd, 2018 – Wells Fargo Center (Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown)
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Nashville Predators – January 1st, 2019 – Bridgestone Arena (New Years in Nashville)
Featured Image: Kate Frese/SBNation
Daniel is an avid Philadelphia Flyers fan from South Central Pennsylvania. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org