GAME 40: FLYERS vs. BRUINS
Alain Vigneault's Philadelphia Flyers (18-15-6) are home on Satuday afternoon to take on Bruce Cassidy's Boston Bruins (21-10-6)..Game time at the Wells Fargo Center is 2:00 p.m. EDT. The game will be televised on NBCSP.
This is the eighth and final meeting of the season series between the teams and the third game this week. The Flyers are 1-4-2 against Boston this season, including a 3-2 overtime win in Boston on Monday and a 4-2 home loss the next night. Among the seven games played to date, Boston won two in blowout fashion while the other five have either seen the game tied or the Flyers leading within the third period. Three of the games have gone beyond regulation, with the Bruins winning once via shootout and once in overtime.
The Flyers entered the month of March with an 11-4-3 record and the highest points percentage in the East Division. Since that time, the club has gone 7-11-3. The Flyers have plummeted in the standings to sixth place in the Division and are six points behind the Bruins for fourth place in the East with the Bruins holding two games in hand.
The Flyers will play the Buffalo Sabres at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon, wrapping up their season series. The Flyers are 5-2-0 against the Sabres this season but both losses were ugly 6-1 defeats and the last two Flyers wins required multi-goal comebacks in the third period and then victories beyond regulation.
The Flyers will be playing for the fourth time in six nights. By Sunday, it will be a five-in-seven.
Philly held an optional practice at the Skate Zone on Friday afternoon. Vigneault indicated that he planned to dress the same lineup and line combinations on Saturday as in the team's 3-2 shootout loss to the Islanders on Thursday. Brian Elliott will get the start in goal on Saturday, with Carter Hart playing on Sunday.
The Flyers made roster moves on Friday, assigning rookie Tanner Laczynski back to the AHL's Lehigh Valley Phantoms. In order to get the Taxi Squad back up to the minimum four skaters, the Flyers called veteran defenseman Derrick Pouliot up from the Phantoms to the Taxi Squad.
The Bruins enter this game coming off a 4-2 win over the Capitals in Washington on Thursday. Combined with their regulation win over the Flyers on Tuesday and the Flyers gaining only point in Long Island two nights later, Boston has opened up a six-point cushion over the Flyers and also strengthened its tiebreaker advantage. The Bruins are five points up on the Rangers.
The most telling stats behind the Bruins' winning six of seven against the Flyers this season, including all but one of the five games that were tied or which the Flyers led within the third period:
* Special teams: The Bruins are an astounding 10-for-20 on the power play against the Flyers across the seven games. The Flyers are 5-for-23 with a devastating shorthanded goal allowed in the third period of the Tuesday's game. By net goals, the Bruins are plus-six on special teams in the seven games against the Flyers. By special teams index (PP%+PK%), the Bruins are 128.3 to the Flyers' 71.7 number.
* Third periods: Overall, the Bruins have outscored the Flyers in third periods by a 14-7 margin. The Flyers took a 3-0 lead into the third period at TD Garden in the first meeting of the season but ended up with a 5-4 shootout loss. The first game in Philadelphia saw the Flyers lead 3-1 midway through the third period but then self-destruct with bad penalties. The next game, the Flyers played one of their best overall games of the season. The Flyers led 1-0 heading into the final eight minutes of the game before a disastrous span of 29 seconds saw Boston score twice and win the game 2-1 in regulation. In Philadelphia's only win, the Flyers trailed 2-1 in the third period before Sean Couturier tied it and Travis Sanheim won it on OT. The next night, the game was tied at 2-2 in the third period before Brad Marchand scored shorthanded to put Boston ahead to stay.
* Crooked numbers: Patrice Bergeron had a hat trick in Tuesday's game at the Wells Fargo Center. Earlier this season, David Pastrnak victimized the Flyers for a pair of hat tricks. Note: The Rangers also have three hat tricks against the Flyers this season (two by Mika Zibanejad, one by Chris Kreider).
On Tuesday, 22-year old goalie prospect Jeremy Swayman made his NHL debut and earned the win over the Flyers with 40 saves, including 23 saves on 25 shots when his net was under siege in the second period. Swayman will get the start again on Saturday.
When the Flyers hosted the Bruins on Tuesday, Boston No. 1 defenseman Charlie McAvoy was a late scratch due to an upper-body injury. He is feeling better but is not expected to play on Saturday. Even without McAvoy, the Bruins have won back-to-back games this week.
25 James van Riemsdyk- 14 Sean Couturier - 23 Oskar Lindblom
21 Scott Laughton - 13 Kevin Hayes - 86 Joel Farabee
93 Jakub Voracek - 28 Claude Giroux - 11 Travis Konecny
12 Michael Raffl - 19 Nolan Patrick - 62 Nicolas Aube-Kubel
9 Ivan Provorov - 61 Justin Braun
6 Travis Sanheim - 8 Robert Hägg
55 Sam Morin - 53 Shayne Gostisbehere
37 Brian Elliott
[79 Carter Hart]
PP1: Giroux, Patrick, Farabee, Voracek, Provorov.
PP2: Hayes, Couturier, JVR, Konecny, Gostisbehere.
Scratches: 5 Phil Myers (healthy), 56 Erik Gustafsson (healthy).
Injured reserve: 48 Morgan Frost (shoulder surgery).
COVID-19 protocol: None.
63 Brad Marchand - 37 Patrice Bergeron -12 Craig Smith
21 Nick Ritchie - 46 David Krejci - 88 David Pastrnak
74 Jake DeBrusk - 13 Charlie Coyle - 83 Karson Kuhlman
81 Anton Blidh - 52 Sean Kuraly - 14 Chris Wagner
48 Matt Grzelcyk - 86 Kevan Miller
67 Jakub Zboril - 44 Stephen Kampfer
55 Jeremy Lauzon - 75 Connor Clifton
1 Jeremy Swayman
[80 Dan Vladar]
PP1: Marchand, Ritchie, Bergeron, Pastrnak, Grzelcyk
PP2: DeBrusk, Coyle, Krejci, Smith, Kampfer
Scratches: 73 Charlie McAvoy (upper body), 10 Anders Bjork (healthy), 84 Jarred Tinordi (healthy).
Injured reserve: 25 Brandon Carlo (upper body), 40 Tuukka Rask (upper body), 27 John Moore (hip surgery), 28 Ondrej Kase (concussion).
COVID-19 protocol: 41 Jaroslav Halak.
Preview: Phantoms vs. Bears
Scott Gordon's Lehigh Valley Phantoms (12-3-3) return to action on Saturday, hosting Spencer Carbery's Hershey Bears (13-5-2) at the PPL Center on Saturday. Game time is 7:05 PM EDT.
This is the eighth of 14 meetings this season between the teams. The Phantoms are 5-2-0 in the games played thus far between the arch-rivals.
In the week before his two-game NHL stint with the Flyers, rookie forward Tanner Laczynski racked up six goals including a hat trick finished off with a between the legs shorthanded tally. With the Flyers, he played a fourth-line center and secondary penalty killing role.
Flyers 2020 first-round pick has been on a tear lately, including four goals, six points and a pair of successful shootout attempts in his last two games. With the prospects of a 2020-21 Ontario Hockey League season being held at all, it appears more and more likely that the 19-year-old Foerster, 18-year-old Zayde Wisdom (7g, 4a) and 19-year-old defenseman Mason Millman (11 GP, 3A) will be able to stay in Lehigh Valley for the duration of the abbreviated 2020-21 AHL season.
Entering Saturday, Ryan Fitzgerald (9g, 15 points) leads the Phantoms in scoring, followed by Max Willman (7g, 14 pts) and team captain Cal O'Reilly (3g, 3 points). The Phantoms, though, have had balanced scoring with eight player with double-digit points and six who have scored at least four goals to date. Rookie power forward Wade Allison has nine points (4g, 5a) across his first eight games in the AHL to date.
In net, primary netminder Zane McIntyre brings in a record of 8-1-2, a goals against average of 2.19, a .926 SV% and one shutout to date.
Every Child Deserves a Bike
On April 9, 2021, the Flyers Alumni Association officially announced the launch of a brand new initiative: the "Every Child Deserves a Bike" program. Each month, the Alumni will have an adaptive bicycle custom-built for a Delaware Valley child with special needs. Members of the Alumni with then personally present the bike to him or her.
Each bicycle is quite expensive, costing roughly $5,000 to construct. Thus, the Alumni must rely on individual donations as well as corporate sponsors in order to maintain the program.
"Every Child Deserves a Bike is a spin-off from the 12 Days of Christmas Giving program the Alumni do each holiday season," Flyers Alumni president Brad Marsh said.
"This past year, we had an adaptive bike built for 5-year-old Lucy Brooks. Joe Watson, Jimmy Watson and I delivered it to Lucy on Christmas Eve Day. Seeing Lucy's joy at getting her new bike and getting to know her family -- really nice people, and diehard Flyers fans to boot -- inspired the Alumni to start this new initiative. Lucy has continued to ride since getting the bike, and she zooms around independently on it now."
For children like Lucy with cerebral palsy and other challenges, an adaptive bike can be life-changing. The motto of the Every Child Deserves a Bike program is "building bikes, delivering dreams".
To learn more about the Every Child Deserves a program, visit the Flyers Alumni's brand new official website, FlyersAlumni.net, or click here
to jump to the program overview page.
* To read about Lucy's remarkable personal story, click here
* To make a donation, click here