Flyers

2019 Stanley Cup Final schedule, live stream: St. Louis ready for Bruins-Blues Game 3

2019 Stanley Cup Final schedule, live stream: St. Louis ready for Bruins-Blues Game 3

St. Louis is ready to get wild.

After the Blues delivered their first Stanley Cup Final win in franchise history, the team comes home with the series tied 1-1 and its city even rowdier for a championship.

Taking the series lead won't be easy for the Blues as the Bruins are 6-2 on the road this postseason and obviously have loads of experience.

How will the series turn? We'll have to wait and see Saturday night in Game 3.

Below is the schedule for Game 3 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. You can watch the entire Final on the networks of NBC. 

Boston Bruins at St. Louis Blues
Game 3, Stanley Cup Final
8 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here

Flyers' Kevin Hayes brings positive outlook to NHL return, eyeing Stanley Cup

Flyers' Kevin Hayes brings positive outlook to NHL return, eyeing Stanley Cup

When the Flyers begin training camp on Monday in preparation for the NHL playoffs, there’s bound to be plenty of surprises along the way.

The continued emergence of COVID-19 in this country makes this situation very fluid, and despite the NHL having both of its bubble cities in Canada, there will still be a heavy emphasis on health protocols upon arrival. Flyers center Kevin Hayes thinks the empty buildings will be the thing that stands out most.

“It’s definitely going to be interesting with no fans and kind of being locked in a bubble, but that’s why we play the game. We play to win the Stanley Cup and this is just another chance to do that,” Hayes said Wednesday to Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill.

While baseball’s return-to-play plan has teams playing in their home stadiums with no fans present, the NHL and NBA have elected for the bubble plan with the NBA playing entirely in Orlando, Florida, and hockey has targeted Edmonton, Alberta, and Toronto.

Hayes believes while the plan has a downside, there are plenty of silver linings.

“I don’t think anyone wants to live in a bubble at all, but it’ll be kind of nice to be with the guys every day that you haven’t seen for a while," Hayes said. "If they say that’s the safest way to finish the season, I think the guys will be cool with it.” 

The players do have the option of not playing and opting out of the NHL’s restart. We’ve seen it with players from the NBA and MLB, with some saying they aren’t going to play for various reasons citing family concerns, health concerns or things of that nature, but for Hayes, this was never on his mind.

“I never considered opting out," Hayes said. "I know the Flyers' organization has done their due diligence on making sure every player is protected and in the safest environment.” 

Hayes said he’s been extremely impressed with the protocols that have been in place since he’s returned to Philadelphia after working out with a trainer in Boston for much of the NHL pause.  

“I haven’t felt unsafe once," he said. "We pretty much test every day and they take every single situation pretty serious.” 

This is certainly a new world for the players, coaches and everyone involved as the league looks to resume, but if Hayes’ perspective is any indication, the Flyers are embracing the challenge in front of them and are ready to get going. This has been an interesting start to his Flyers career for the prized offseason free agent signing and Hayes is hoping to bring the city some hardware, regardless of the time or situation it happens. 

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2019-20 Flyers season grades: Matt Niskanen

2019-20 Flyers season grades: Matt Niskanen

The 2019-20 NHL regular season has concluded and the next time the puck drops will officially kick off the race to the Stanley Cup. The Flyers are hungry and ready to battle it out, but that is thanks to the hard work from back in October. 

In an End to End series, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Brooke Destra, Katie Emmer, Joe Fordyce and Jordan Hall will be grading players based on individual performances. 

Today we will be looking at Matt Niskanen.

Destra

I’m not going to lie — I fell under the category of not fully understanding the trade for Niskanen during the offseason in a one-for-one deal, sending former Flyer Radko Gudas to the Capitals. At the time, the most appealing aspects about the deal were recognizing the level of veteran experience Niskanen was going to bring to the blue line and his extensive résumé when it came to the playoffs. 

Now, with his first regular season as a Flyer officially at an end, it’s safe to say he was an absolute steal. Way to win a trade, Chuck Fletcher. 

Not only did he post 33 points (eight goals, 25 assists), making him the second-best defenseman in points on the team, but he elevated his partner Ivan Provorov to new heights in his career as well. The duo built such powerful chemistry on the ice and Niskanen provided the skill set needed to help Provorov hone in on his talent.  

There couldn’t have been a better fit for the Flyers and Provorov. Whatever Niskanen’s next steps are in the NHL, let’s hope he wants to stay in Philadelphia for a little while longer. 

A+ for Niskanen — not bad for his 13th season in the league. 

Emmer

The Flyers went from averaging the third-most goals against per game (3.41) and a minus-37 goal differential in 2018-19 to then tying for the seventh-fewest goals against in the league and drawing a plus-36 goal differential this season. A major key for that success was Niskanen.

Niskanen had a lasting impact throughout the regular season on special teams. Most notably, the penalty kill, which he helped improve from 78.5 percent in 2018-19 (26th in NHL) to 81.8 percent (11th in NHL). His power play minutes were also impressive as the four goals scored on the man advantage were the highest in his career.

He brought leadership to the blue line and the dressing room and was a steady presence the Flyers and his defensive partner Provorov depended on throughout the regular season.

I give Niskanen an A.

Fordyce 

Niskanen, an experienced Stanley Cup-winning defenseman, came to the Flyers via trade for Gudas from the Capitals last offseason. His addition to the team added a veteran leader to the roster as well as a possible mentor for some of the Flyers' young defensemen. In his first season with the Flyers, he did both admirably.

Niskanen’s presence on that top defense pair with Provorov allowed Provorov to open up his game more and become a better overall player. Niskanen is a smart defenseman who is rarely out of position, and this allows Provorov as his defensive partner to freelance a bit more, which is one of the strengths of his game. Niskanen also has great puck skills from the point, getting pucks toward the net by pass or shot and creating opportunities. 

No-brainer, Niskanen gets an A.

Hall

What an acquisition by Fletcher. In the Gudas-Niskanen swap, the only other hit for the Flyers was salary related — obviously taking on Niskanen's $5.75 million cap hit as well as retaining 30 percent of Gudas' $3.35 million cap hit.

Niskanen made the trade unquestionably worth it for his new club.

Not only did the 33-year-old Stanley Cup champion significantly improve the Flyers at 5-on-5, on the power play and the penalty kill, but he also did wonders for the rebound of Provorov, a 23-year-old who had far too much on his shoulders last season.

Niskanen's winning pedigree has rubbed off on everyone. With eight goals and 25 assists, he also had a chance to crack 40 points for the second time in his well-established career before the regular season was cut short because of the coronavirus outbreak.

A well-deserved A for Niskanen.

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