|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ETNaN:� BRT, December 14, 2018
Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta Attendance: 18,347
Oilers take on struggling Flyers at home
Philadelphia Flyers at Edmonton Oilers
- The Flyers and Oilers split their two meetings in 2016-17, with the two games producing a total of 20 goals. Last season's series saw only nine pucks enter the net, with Philadelphia winning both games. Philly's 4-2 win in Edmonton on December 6, 2017 was its first regulation win there since March 2001.
- The Flyers have dropped their last two games (one in overtime), allowing a total of 13 goals. They squandered a two-goal lead in the final 68 seconds of regulation in Wednesday's 6-5 overtime loss at Calgary. It was the 10th time this season that Philadelphia allowed at least five goals in a game.
- The Oilers are 8-2-2 since Ken Hitchcock took over the coaching reins, including 6-0-2 in one-goal games. The team's physical play has increased since the coaching change, from 23.8 hits per game under Todd McLellan to 28.3 under Hitchcock.
- The Flyers have not won a game this season in which Claude Giroux has failed to record a point (0-8-1). The are 4-3-0 when Giroux tallies exactly one point, and 8-2-3 when he has a multi-point game.
- Connor McDavid has recorded points on just under half of the Oilers' goals in 2018-19 -- 45 of 91, or 49.5 percent. This is the highest such percentage for any skater in the league; Leon Draisaitl ranks fourth, recording points on 42.9 percent of the team's goals.
- Ken Hitchcock's first 12 games as Oilers head coach are very similar to his first 12 games as coach of the Flyers some 16 seasons ago. Hitchcock led the Flyers to a 9-1-2 record to start the 2002-03 season (two ties), while the Oilers are 8-2-2 under him so far in 2018-19.
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Edmonton Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock recently remarked that a tough stretch of the schedule will give an accurate reading of the state of the team.
There are still some bumps in the road, but there were some lessons learned, too.
Looking to extend a winning streak at Rogers Place, the Oilers square off against the sputtering Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night.
Last Saturday, Hitchcock said the "next three games are going to tell us a lot of the things that we're good at and the things we need to work on."
Hours later, Edmonton defeated the Calgary Flames, 1-0, in the Battle of Alberta. Two days later, the Oilers traveled to the Denver and topped the high-powered Colorado Avalanche, 6-4. On Thursday, Hitchcock's club erased a two-goal deficit in the second period but fell to the Winnipeg Jets, 5-4 in overtime.
"We have not, as a group, have not been even close to being involved in stuff like this and these are great lessons for us moving forward as long as we take them," Hitchcock said.
Since Hitchcock took over on Nov. 20, Edmonton (17-12-3) has won all five games at Rogers Place by a combined score of 14-5. In the first nine home games this season under Todd McLellan, the Oilers went 4-4-1 with a 29-28 scoring advantage.
Hitchcock is 8-2-2 with Edmonton, which is five points behind Pacific Division-leading Calgary.
"We need the points (but) I look at the way we're playing," Hitchcock said.
The Oilers were swept in the season series in 2017-18 and have dropped three of the last four matchups with Philadelphia. Edmonton has surrendered one power-play goal in each of the last four meetings with the Flyers.
But the Oilers will face a team unable to keep the puck out of the net recently.
After giving up seven goals in a loss to the Jets on Sunday, the Flyers surrendered two goals in the final 1:08 of regulation and the game-winner 35 seconds into overtime of a 6-5 defeat to Calgary.
"We've got to find a way to reset," winger Dale Weise told NBC Sports Philadelphia. "It's embarrassing."
While Philadelphia (12-13-4) made a change off-ice by firing general manager Ron Hextall on Nov. 26, the team is still struggling. The Flyers have gone 2-2-2 since Hextall's ouster and sit in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, two points ahead of the New Jersey Devils.
The team has yielded at least four goals four times since Chuck Fletcher took over in the front office. One of his first chores should be an upgrade in goal.
With Brian Elliott injured and Michal Neuvirth away from the team as his wife prepares to give birth, Philadelphia is going with the tandem of Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon, who was recalled Thursday. The pair have combined for a total of 26 games, including 17 starts.
Stolarz allowed 10 goals in his last two appearances and has an .889 save percentage through seven games, but coach Dave Hakstol seems willing to let him learn by doing.
"He's a young guy in terms of games in the NHL," Hakstol told Philly.com. "And there's a lot of things that he continues to work at. We don't want to put too much on his plate that way. Just go out and continue to build his game."
Mikko Koskinen is expected to start in the second of back-to-back games and looks to continue his stellar play on home ice for Edmonton. In seven games (six starts), Koskinen has surrendered just six goals while recording three shutouts.
Updated December 14, 2018