John Tortorella's Philadelphia Flyers (26-37-13) will host an Easter Sunday meeting with Jim Montgomery's Boston Bruins (62-12-5). Game time at the Wells Fargo Center is 6:00 p.m. ET.
The Flyers, who are winless in their last six games (0-5-1) dating back to March 30, are crawling toward the finish line of the season. Tonight's game will be the team's seventh game in an 11-night span, and second game of a B2B following Saturday's 4-0 road loss to the Islanders. The initial six games over 10 nights were in six different cities, two time zones and included a round-trip crossing of the United States/Canada border to start it off.
Tortorella has said several times this season--- including once during this past week -- that he's no a believer in "the fatigue factor" as a significant factor in why a team wins or loses. He subscribes to the belief that players mentally convince themselves that they're tired more than a compacted schedule takes a physical toll. Whatever the case, the Flyers finished a seven-game homestand (5-1-1) with five straight wins and then have gone winless in the six games since that time. It should also be noted, though, that the Flyers have recently played a series of playoff-bound opponents or clubs that are locked in a dogfight for a wildcard spot.
Boston, which has the President's Trophy long since locked up, has another objective to play for on this Easter Sunday while they're still awaiting a first-round opponent from the three-team battle (Florida, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh) for two wildcard spots in the East. With a win tonight, the Bruins would establish a brand-new NHL record for wins in a single season.
For an in-depth preview of tonight's game, see today's Five Things on PhiladelphiaFlyers.com.
Neither team will hold a morning skate today. Lineups projects below are primarily based on the starting personnel in yesterday's games and are subject to change. I would not be surprised, however, if Tony DeAngelo returns to the Flyers' lineup after being a healthy scratch in both the Dallas and Islanders games. Notable, though, is the fact that DeAngelo was not on the ice for Saturday's morning skate at the UBS Arena in Elmont; it's almost automatic for healthy-scratched players to participate in morning skates. The reason was not publicly disclosed.
13 Kevin Hayes - 49 Noah Cates - 74 Owen Tippett
86 Joel Farabee - 48 Morgan Frost - 11 Travis Konecny
25 James van Riemsdyk - 21 Scott Laughton - 57 Wade Allison
44 Nicolas Deslauriers 58 Tanner Laczynski - 22 Brendan Lemieux
9 Ivan Provorov - 45 Cam York
6 Travis Sanheim - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
24 Nick Seeler - 77 Tony DeAngelo or 61 Justin Braun
32 Felix Sandström
79 Carter Hart
Flyers play the Bruins tonight as Boston looks to set a new NHL single-season record for wins. They tied the record yesterday with win no. 62.
There was some good news to celebrate in the Flyers' organization on Saturday. Their AHL farm team, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (37-27-6), have clinched a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs.
On Saturday, the Phantoms earned a comeback 4-3 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds at the PPL Center in Allentown. Trailing 3-1 early in the third period, the Phantoms exploded for three unanswered goals to pull out the win.
Goalie Samuel Ersson backstopped the Phantoms to the victory with 33 saves in total including 11 stops on 12 shots in the third period. Jody Bellerive (8th), Emil Andrae (PPG, 2nd), and Kevin Connauton (3rd) tallied over the game's first 50 minutes before Olle Lycksell (13th) scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at 16:36 of the third period.
Veteran forward Adam Brooks (three assists), Andrae (1g, 1a) and Lycksell (1g, 1a) all had multi-point games, while Tyson Foerster (1a) continued a combined 11-game point streak between the NHL with the Flyers and the AHL with the Phantoms.
Bobby Brink (15th assist, 25th point in 38 games since joining the Phantoms following off-season hip surgery) had the primary helper on Bellerive's goal. Cooper Marody, returning this weekend from a suspected concussion in the March 19 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, had three points (2g, 1a) on Friday against Charlotte, and the primary assist on Andrae's third period goal last night that cut the Lehigh Valley deficit to 3-2.
Diminutive but highly competitive and offensively talented defenseman Andrae, the Flyers' second-round pick in the 2020 Entry Draft and Team Sweden's captain at last year's World Junior Championship, has made a significant impact since joining Lehigh Valley on a PTO following the conclusion on Andrae's SHL season with HV71. In seven games with the Phantoms to date, Andrae has chipped in six points (2g, 4a) and has been very effective on the power play in particular. His newly signed entry-level NHL contract will start in the 2023-24 season.
The combination of the Phantoms' regulation win and the Bridgeport Islanders' 8-2 blowout loss at the hands of the last-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday were more than enough for the Phantoms to clinch a Calder Cup playoff spot after entering the day with a magic number of three.
Meanwhile, in terms of the playoff seeding race, the Phantoms got additional good news on Saturday. The Charlotte Checkers followed up their head-to-head loss to the Phantoms on Friday with a 5-2 road loss to the Hershey Bears.
Consequently, the Phantoms woke up this morning in third place in the Atlantic Division. The Phantoms, Thunderbirds and Checkers all have 80 points this season through 69 games played (three games remaining on their respective schedules). However, the Phantoms (27 regulation wins) hold tiebreaker advantages over both fourth-place Springfield (26 regulation wins) and fifth-place Charlotte (25 regulation wins).
At stake over the final three games: home ice advantage in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs. Only the first-place (bye), second-place (bye), third-place and fourth-place teams will have home ice in their initial series. The Phantoms now control their own destiny in that regard, too.
Remaining games: The Phantoms are on the road on Wednesday to play the now-eliminated Bridgeport Islanders. On Friday, the Phantoms host Charlotte. The regular season wraps up on Saturday with a road game in Hershey against the first-place Bears.
Springfield concludes the regular season with a weekend three-in-three gauntlet: home against second-place Providence on Friday, home against sixth-place Hartford on Saturday, and on the road against Providence on Sunday. Charlotte is on the road in Pennsylvania all week to play in Hershey on Tuesday, in Allentown against the Phantoms on Friday and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton agains the Penguins on Saturday.