Dave Hakstol: 'Not the plan right now' for Mike Vecchione to play this weekend

Dave Hakstol: 'Not the plan right now' for Mike Vecchione to play this weekend

The Flyers signed Mike Vecchione, Shayne Gostisbehere's old teammate at Union College, Friday to a one-year contract worth $925,000 (see story.)

After signing his contract, Vecchione said he gave his parents a big hug filled with tears of joy.

"It's been a long time coming, you wait your whole life for this," he said after Saturday's morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center.

But Vecchione won't be on the ice with his former teammate yet. The 24-year-old center hasn't skated in a week and will not be in the lineup Saturday night against the Devils (see game notes). It's unclear when he'll get into the lineup. Saturday was his first practice with the team.

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said Vecchione won't play Sunday against the New York Rangers, either.

"There's always a chance but that's not the plan right now," Hakstol said. "He's gotta practice, he's got to get a little bit of time in, give us an opportunity to get to know him a little bit better, give him an opportunity to get settled in a little bit."

Vecchione said he wants to be a "sponge" in the upcoming days and learn the system, talk to the coach and figure out what role he'll be playing.

Since he doesn't have a place in Philadelphia, Vecchione has been staying at Gostisbehere's spot.

When asked if he was paying rent or doing dishes to stay with Gostisbehere, he said he's thankful Ghost took him in.

"We haven't worked out the logistics of things," Vecchione said with a smirk on his face. "We'll see what happens. I'm only going to be here a couple of weeks, so I'll try to keep it clean over at his house."

Livin' on a prayer
The Flyers are hanging on by a limb in the NHL playoff race.

They currently sit six points out of the Eastern Conference's final wild-card spot, and every game has turned into a must-win scenario.

But Hakstol doesn't think there's anything different about this game.

"We've been in the same mode," Hakstol said. "I think our focus is on exactly what it's been -- taking care of our own backyard, taking care of our own business, and that's what we've done. And that's the opportunity that we have again today. It's no different today than it was two days ago or a week ago."

For Hakstol's sake, he better hope his guys are in the same mode they were Thursday night when they unloaded six goals against the New York Islanders on 30 shots.

If the Flyers lose in regulation against the Devils on Saturday, the Bruins beat the Panthers and the Maple Leafs pick up at least one point against the Red Wings, the Flyers are eliminated from the playoffs.

Michal Neuvirth will get the start over Steve Mason on Saturday against the Devils. Neuvirth has better career numbers against the Devils (6-3-5, 2.23 GAA) compared to Mason's (0-9-0, 3.93 GAA) record.

But Hakstol claimed that wasn't the reason Neuvirth will be starting.

"There's a lot of factors, the biggest factor is the back to back," Hakstol said. "Neuvy has a had a great week here in terms of practice and readiness, so we felt like this is the start that Neuvy will get it and Mason will go tomorrow."

Next man up
With Matt Read out for the rest of the season with a broken right arm, Colin McDonald has been called up from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

At the age of 32, McDonald isn't new to the NHL by any means. He's played for four different teams in the NHL and a total of 145 games, including five with the Flyers last season.

"You're waiting a long time and you're just really excited to get this opportunity as the year goes on," McDonald said. "You kind of start doubting if you're going to get a chance and sure enough, here it is. I'm excited to go out and do that."

McDonald was also called up during last season's playoff run with the Flyers, so he knows what to expect heading into the final games of the season. In three playoff games against the Washington Capitals last season, he took four shots and had 13 hits.

"The fact that they called me up in the middle of their playoff run last year and stepped right in, I think they know I can step into a similar situation," McDonald said. "And maybe that's part of the reason why they called me up, even though I haven't been here all year, they felt confident that I'm going to be able to do my job, so that's my mindset."

Projected Flyers Lineup
F: Travis Konecny-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek

Jordan Weal-Valtteri Filppula-Wayne Simmonds

Dale Weise-Sean Couturier-Brayden Schenn

Chris VandeVelde-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Colin McDonald

D: Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald

Micheal Del Zotto-Shayne Gostisbehere

Brandon Manning-Radko Gudas

G: Michal Neuvirth

Milestone night for Boyle sparks Devils' win

USA Today Images

Milestone night for Boyle sparks Devils' win

NEWARK, N.J. -- Brian Boyle broke a tie with his 100th career goal and added an empty-netter and an assist to help the New Jersey Devils beat the Dallas Stars 5-2 on Friday night.

Steven Santini, Blake Coleman and Nick Lappin also scored for the Devils, and Corey Schneider made 28 saves.

Martin Hanzal and Alexander Radulov scored for Dallas.

Midway through Stephen Johns' double-minor for high-sticking, Devils fans booed the team's power-play effort. Boyle responded by knocking in a rebound from the crease off of Will Butcher's shot to give the Devils a 3-2 lead with 3:21 left in the period.

Boyle assisted on Lappin's goal midway through the third period and completed the scoring with the empty-net goal (see full recap).

Nash, Rangers push past Kings
NEW YORK -- Rick Nash scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:27 remaining to lead the New York Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.

Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller also scored to help New York win for the second time in five games (2-2-1). Henrik Lundqvist stopped 33 shots.

On the go-ahead goal, Nash stole the puck in the Kings' zone on the left side near the center line, drove into the left circle and beat Quick for his ninth of the season to give the Rangers their third lead of the game.

Miller added an empty-netter with 54 seconds remaining, sealing New York's 11th win in the last 13 at home (11-1-1) (see full recap).

Red Wings earn much-needed win
DETROIT -- Trevor Daley scored a tiebreaking, short-handed goal midway through the second period and the Detroit Red Wings went on to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Friday night.

Jimmy Howard had 25 saves for the Red Wings. They had won only one of their previous 11 games.

The Maple Leafs lost their third straight, matching a season high. Toronto was without star center Auston Matthews for a fourth straight game because of an upper-body injury.

Curtis McElhinney stopped 26 shots for Toronto.

The Maple Leafs' Andreas Borgman opened the scoring 1:58 into the game.

Detroit's Danny DeKeyser pulled the Red Wings into a tie early in the first. Tomas Tatar's power-goal goal gave them a two-goal cushion they needed after losing the last two games after having a one-goal lead in the third period (see full recap).

Get in the holiday spirit with the Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers

Get in the holiday spirit with the Flyers

Before the Flyers get in the spirit for a sixth straight win on Saturday night, they’ll get you in the holiday spirit, too.

Prior to puck drop against the Stars on NBC Sports Philadelphia, the Flyers will put on a unique holiday-themed light show, which will illuminate the Wells Fargo Center and its ice.

The “Holiday Light Spectacular,” which is presented by the Rothman Institute at Jefferson, will be a 10-minute show starting at 7 p.m., as all fans will be given light-up bracelets to complement a fun Flyers holiday video featured on the ice.

“This show is a new, can’t-miss holiday attraction in Philadelphia and one that we hope becomes an annual tradition for us,” Shawn Tilger, the Flyers’ executive vice president, chief operating officer, alternate governor, said in a release by the team. “This show is in line with the holiday staples of the region, and we’re excited to bring entertainment of this caliber to Flyers fans here on Saturday night.”

For fans with youngsters, Santa Claus will also be in attendance, taking free photos on the main concourse.