Flyers

Cheers, jeers and what shouldn't be lost for Flyers fans in the Brad Marchand shootout madness

Cheers, jeers and what shouldn't be lost for Flyers fans in the Brad Marchand shootout madness

As Brad Marchand skated past the puck and circled back, the realization quickly settled in for the Flyers and their fans anticipating a big save from Carter Hart.

They didn’t need one. Not even close.

With the puck still at center ice, lonely and hardly moved, the Wells Fargo Center was as loud as it has been all season.

Flyers fans raucously cheered the crazy comeback and, more enjoyably, jeered the Bruins’ big-name forward to toast the 6-5 shootout victory over the Bruins (see observations).

After Travis Konecny beat Jaroslav Halak for the shootout advantage in the fifth round, Marchand stunned the 19,246 fans in attendance when he overskated the puck on his attempt to cap off the Flyers’ win (see highlights).

“I was trying to get going and I just missed it,” Marchand said.

A moment like that, featuring a polarizing and accomplished player like Marchand, in a game between rivals like Philly and Boston, will not be forgotten.

Well, at least not for Flyers fans.

What shouldn’t be lost in the hoopla at the finish is the magnitude of this win at this juncture of the season. The Flyers are in the midst of a daunting four-game stretch just past the halfway mark of the schedule, with their NHL-mandated Jan. 22-30 bye week almost here and the Feb. 24 trade deadline on the horizon.

The stretch has put the Flyers up against four of the NHL’s top teams in the Capitals, Lightning, Bruins and Blues.

The team is in a soul-searching phase as the head coach and general manager evaluate what the Flyers might need as the playoff race heightens. The Flyers have depth concerns at forward and adding some scoring punch or experience anywhere within the lineup could bolster the team’s postseason chances.

Facing the league’s best is an ideal barometer for evaluation.

“It is something that we have been looking at, there’s no doubt that it’s evident by the number of people that we’ve tried in that bottom six, in that role,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said after Monday’s morning skate. “At the end of the day, that’s one area, but in the big picture, I look at our last game, I really liked our compete level, I really liked our defensive part of the game. We didn’t give a highly skilled team a lot of chances but we need a couple of guys to come up big and get some points for us.

“[Depth is] an area that we’re looking to improve but we need our big boys to come up big for us.”

In their four-game test, the Flyers are 2-1-0 with wins over the Capitals and Bruins, and a loss to the Lightning. They’ve scored eight goals and have allowed eight.

They face the defending champion Blues Wednesday night in St. Louis.

"You’ve got Washington, then you’ve got Tampa and tonight you’ve got Boston,” Vigneault said. “You knew they were going to be three tough games, we had to take those games one at a time, which we did. 

“I liked our game in all three of them, they were all different. The Washington game, coming back home and having to play that night, that was out of the ordinary. Tampa was a tight-checking game from both teams and they got a bounce on their goal. Tonight it was just a little bit more wide open. 

“They’re three different games where I think everybody enjoyed it and now we’ve got to go to St. Louis and find a way to win that road game.”

And continue to find out more about themselves.

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As Jeff Carter's Kings make trip to Philly, is the former Flyer a trade deadline target?

As Jeff Carter's Kings make trip to Philly, is the former Flyer a trade deadline target?

Jeff Carter was back in Philadelphia Saturday night as his Kings played the Flyers.

After the Feb. 24 trade deadline, could he be somewhere else other than Los Angeles?

It's not outside the realm of possibility.

The Kings entered Saturday's action in the basement of the Western Conference and may be a team looking to sell some veteran parts to a contender.

Carter is 35 years old but under contract for next season and 2021-22 with a cap hit of $5,272,727, according to CapFriendly.com. The center brings a lot of pedigree as a two-time Stanley Cup champion and a four-time 30-plus goal-scorer. He can still score the puck a bit as he's projected to finish with 23 goals this season.

If Los Angeles wants to retool and shifts its focus to the future, Carter has the potential to earn it a decent return if contending teams are interested in his services.

Has he ever thought about playing in Philly again?

“I don’t want to leave L.A., I can tell you that right now," he said to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Taryn Hatcher on Saturday night's edition of Flyers Pregame Live. "But I loved playing in Philly, I had some great years here, I have a lot of friends and family. Whatever happens, happens.

"It’s been a long time since I played here but I still enjoy coming back, a lot friends here, my wife’s from here, so some family and stuff like that. Always enjoy coming back and seeing everybody.”

While the Flyers are a team that could be looking for depth and scoring down the middle, they're not exactly in position to trade for a player with the contract like Carter's deal. They would have to include players from their roster in the exchange or make other moves. Subtracting, or doing so significantly, is probably not their plan right now.

"It’s hard to trade a fourth-round pick for a $4 million player," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Tuesday (see story). "With our group right now, I don’t know that’s what we’re looking to do. If we can improve our team, we will."

But you never know. Carter certainly knows anything can happen in this business.

"I love playing in L.A. and being a part of this team," he said. "We’ll see where it goes.”

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Flyers vs. Kings: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Kings: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

VOORHEES, N.J. — Head coach Alain Vigneault is looking for a bounce-back performance in his team's penultimate game before its NHL-mandated Jan. 22-30 bye week.

The opportunity appears ripe as the Flyers (25-17-6) host the Kings (18-26-5) Saturday.

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• Vigneault wants a response from his Flyers. Mostly, he wants his Flyers to play like the Flyers again.

He was not pleased by the team's performance in Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Canadiens at the Wells Fargo Center, after the Flyers had picked up wins over the league's three best teams — the Capitals, Bruins and Blues — over a four-game stretch (see story).

Playing against the Western Conference's worst team, which is 7-16-4 on the road, the Flyers need to dictate terms vs. the Kings.

The team held a meeting and analyzed some video prior to Saturday's short morning skate in Voorhees, New Jersey.

What was Vigneault's message?

We’ve got to execute, we’ve got to compete. We’re at our best when we’re on top of people, we’re taking people out of the equation and we’re connected, we’re close together whether it be on the forecheck or when we have the puck.

We showed a couple of sequences of us doing it well, especially in the St. Louis game, which we did a lot of good things. We’re going to try to bring that tonight, bring some good energy and focus and play a good game.

• Defenseman Justin Braun is set to return earlier than the Flyers had originally anticipated. With a groin injury, Braun was expected to be out until after the bye week.

He ended up missing only six games and the veteran stay-at-home blueliner will be paired with the physical Robert Hagg against the Kings.

Pucks in, pucks out, the old saying — it’s about as boring as it can get, but that’s the kind of game I want to play tonight. We don’t want to be hemmed in, defending all night. We want to get [the puck] into the forwards’ hands and let them go to work.

- Braun

• The Flyers have not lost consecutive home games in regulation all season. They have a plus-32 goal differential at home, while the Kings own a minus-28 goal differential on the road.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Scott Laughton-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Joel Farabee-Connor Bunnaman-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg-Justin Braun

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Alex Lyon

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