Flyers

2020 NHL playoffs: Flyers' outlook for round robin, first round

2020 NHL playoffs: Flyers' outlook for round robin, first round

The round-robin tournament of the NHL's 24-team return-to-play format will represent different kinds of importance for the fourth-seeded Flyers.

Firstly, they couldn't ask for a better tune-up ahead of their first-round series. They'll play each of the Eastern Conference's top three teams once before meeting their opening-round opponent.

Secondly, those dates with the East's best could help the Flyers climb even more. The total points accumulated in the round-robin tournament will determine the conference's seed Nos. 1-4. If there are ties after the set of games, which will feature regular-season overtime and shootout rules, the regular-season points percentages of each club will serve as the tiebreaker.

How could the Flyers fare in the round-robin portion and what would it ultimately mean for their outlook in the 24-team setup?

Here are three factors to note:

1. Can Flyers win round robin?

They shouldn't be considered heavy underdogs. The Flyers will be confident in their opportunity to improve their seed after going 2-1-0 against the top-seeded Bruins during the regular season and 3-0-1 vs. the third-seeded Capitals. The second-seeded Lightning were the one club that gave the Flyers trouble. The Flyers dropped two games in regulation to Tampa Bay, but one was a 1-0 defeat and the other was a chippy 5-3 loss with an empty-netter in the final 22 seconds.

The Flyers have a goalie who keeps them in games and a group that held its own with the fellow top seeds in major statistical categories:

Goals per game

Lightning — 3.47
Capitals — 3.42
Flyers — 3.29
Bruins — 3.24

Goals against per game

Bruins — 2.39
Flyers — 2.77
Lightning — 2.77
Capitals — 3.07

Power play percentage

Bruins — 25.2
Lightning — 23.1
Flyers — 20.8
Capitals — 19.4

Penalty kill percentage

Bruins — 84.3
Capitals — 82.6
Flyers — 81.8
Lightning — 81.4

2. Wait, would they want to climb?

It's an interesting question right now because the NHL and NHLPA are undetermined on the format for the first and second rounds, whether it be bracketed or reseeding after the qualifying round.

That's a huge question.

Say the Flyers stayed at No. 4 in a bracket-style scenario and the 12th-seeded Canadiens knocked off the fifth-seeded Penguins, the Flyers would face Montreal. On paper, that would be a pretty favorable matchup against the lowest seed in the East. Whereas the No. 1 seed in the conference would face the winner of the No. 8 vs. No. 9 matchup.

If the league instead agrees to reseed, such a scenario would see the No. 1 seed face the Canadiens during the first round, whereas the Flyers, as the fourth seed, would get the highest remaining seed to advance from the qualifying round.

When/if the Flyers play round-robin games, the NHL will have made a decision on the format for the first and second rounds. Right now, just about everything is undecided for the Flyers.

3. The good thing?

The Flyers can't hurt themselves in the round robin. As the lowest seed of the four, they can only improve their seed. If the Flyers struggle, they stay put at No. 4 and at least played three competitive warmup games for their first-round series.

The Flyers went 22-8-5 against the Eastern Conference playoff field during the regular season, so they'll like their chances against whichever team they draw.

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Is Chris Pronger coming back to Philly for new endeavor?

Is Chris Pronger coming back to Philly for new endeavor?

He wasn’t in Philadelphia for a significant amount of time during his successful career, but Chris Pronger was widely loved by Flyers fans — and still is. 

While his career ended abruptly in the early weeks of the 2011-12 season, his time with the Flyers has always felt unfinished. 

Now, almost nine years later, could there be a possibility of Pronger joining the organization once more? 

The Hockey Hall-of-Famer posted a few clues to his Instagram account Tuesday night, implying that a “big announcement” is coming the next day. 

View this post on Instagram

Big announcement coming tomorrow! Stay tuned ...

A post shared by Chris Pronger (@thechrispronger) on

And one post wasn’t enough to contain his excitement, as he took to his Instagram story as well — now adding that it’s the “best day ever” and tagging the location as the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Flyers. 

Many have taken to the comments section under his post, giving their guesses on possible scenarios, but Pronger isn’t budging.



On July 8, Pronger announced that he stepped down from his senior vice president of hockey operations position with the Florida Panthers. He also noted that he made this decision to focus on his and his wife Lauren’s business, Well Inspired Travels — a luxury travel company that caters to elite athletes, executives and business owners. 

So, what does this recent career decision and posts mean? We’ll just have to take Pronger’s advice and “stay tuned” until tomorrow when the announcement is made. 

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More on the Flyers

NHL schedule 2020: Start times for Flyers vs. Penguins exhibition game, Flyers vs. Bruins round-robin game

NHL schedule 2020: Start times for Flyers vs. Penguins exhibition game, Flyers vs. Bruins round-robin game

Alain Vigneault and his staff have put together a detailed, science-based plan to prepare the Flyers for what could be an unprecedented run at the 2020 Stanley Cup.

They know they have about a month to work with following an abrupt stoppage that spanned four months because of the coronavirus outbreak.

"I believe it’s going to work," the Flyers' head coach said Monday about his team's plan ahead of the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament.

Part of the plan includes an exhibition contest. It also features three interesting round-robin games, which will dictate the Eastern Conference's top-four seeds but can serve as a tune-up of sorts, as well. During the qualifying round, the Flyers will try to improve their seeding and strategize for the first round of the playoffs, which begins Aug. 11.

We've got 30 days to get ready for our first official game on Aug. 11," Vigneault said. "Our group is excited, focused, energized — and we've been waiting a long time here to have this opportunity to compete for the Stanley Cup, and we’re going to get it.

"We are going to take this time that we have in front of us here to obviously prepare the team. We’re also going to take the exhibition game and the three games that we're going to play because really, Aug. 11, our first game in the first round for the Stanley Cup Playoffs starts there. I’m going to put on the ice at that time the best lineup that we have.

We now know when and who the Flyers will play in their exhibition game: the Penguins. The NHL also released the start time for the Flyers' round-robin opener against the Bruins.

Here are the details so far, while broadcast information is to be announced on another date:

Flyers vs. Penguins, Tuesday, July 28 — 4 p.m. ET (exhibition)

Flyers vs. Bruins, Sunday, Aug. 2 — 3 p.m. ET (round robin)

Flyers vs. Capitals, Thursday, Aug. 6 — TBD (round robin)

Flyers vs. Lightning, Sunday, Aug. 9 — TBD (round robin)

For analysis on the Flyers' round-robin slate, click here. For the rest of the NHL schedule and start times, click here.

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Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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