Flyers (27-23-7) at Oilers (30-19-8)
9 p.m. on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App; Pregame Live at 8:30
Well, this could get interesting.
Thursday night shouldn't lack for drama when the Flyers visit the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place.
Let's get into it with five things to know:
1. Manning-McDavid feud
Did you ever think Connor McDavid would have a nemesis in … Brandon Manning?
So far, the transcendent McDavid and 26-year-old Flyers defenseman have made for some enticing storylines in just two career meetings.
The third will unfold tonight and see Manning's return to the city where it started.
On Nov. 3, 2015, at Edmonton's former arena, McDavid skated by Manning but appeared to lose his footing as he careened towards the net. The two went crashing into the back boards, Manning right on top of the No. 1 overall pick.
McDavid ended up fracturing his collarbone and missing 37 games of a highly anticipated rookie season. Manning said he received death threats because of the play.
Whatever tension there was between the two boiled over this season at the Wells Fargo Center on Dec. 8. Both players exchanged words and shoves on the ice. After the Flyers' 6-5 win, McDavid, the NHL's leading scorer, claimed Manning made "classless" comments about the injury and intention behind it. Manning denied any such thing.
What's next? We'll see tonight.
2. Goals would be nice
The Flyers' struggles to put the puck in the net only continued Wednesday night in a 3-1 loss to the Flames.
They did generate chances, outshooting Calgary, 34-23, but the Flyers also whiffed on a five-minute power play that proved costly.
Since returning on Jan. 21 from their NHL-mandated bye week, the Flyers have scored the fewest goals in the NHL with 16 in 11 games. Their power play is also 1 for its last 17.
Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said pregame he'll make changes to the power play but wouldn't specify what.
3. Well-oiled machine
The Oilers can score in bunches.
The 20-year-old McDavid leads the NHL in points (63) and assists (45), while Leon Draisaitl, only 21, has 50 points (21 goals, 29 assists) and Patrick Maroon is a plus-13 with 20 goals.
Wingers Jordan Eberle and Milan Lucic each have 30-plus points, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, also a first overall pick (2011), has 11 goals and 15 assists.
Edmonton is in third place of the Pacific Division and ranks among the top half of the league in goals per game (13th), goals against per game (seventh), power-play percentage (11th) and penalty-kill percentage (14th).
4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: Just about everyone is in an offensive rut for the Flyers, but Claude Giroux is on a season-worst five-game pointless streak. In the season's first matchup with the Oilers, Giroux posted two goals and an assist. The captain has 11 points in 10 career games against Edmonton.
Oilers: Staying away from the obvious (McDavid), we'll go with Eberle, who is without a point in his last eight games. He plays alongside McDavid and the Oilers are 6-1-1 when the 26-year-old scores a goal.
5. This and that
• Michal Neuvirth will make his sixth start in the last seven contests. He has not given up more than two goals in a game since Jan. 21.
• Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot has five shutouts this season. He's dominated the Flyers in his career, going 3-2-0 with a 1.01 goals-against average, .967 save percentage and three shutouts.
• The Flyers are 8-3-2 in the second game of back-to-back sets.
• The Flyers are 2-9-2 in their last 13 road games, a stretch in which they've been outscored, 46-19.