Flyers

Fearless Forecast for the Flyers' 2018-19 season

Fearless Forecast for the Flyers' 2018-19 season

We gave our season predictions.

Now, let's get you further set for the 2018-19 season by providing our Flyers Fearless Forecast, featuring a random assortment of bold predictions from NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Boruk, Tom Dougherty and Jordan Hall.

Getting some Hart
Last season, I thought we'd see three Flyers defensemen score double-digit goals for the first time in franchise history, and while Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov did their part, the team couldn't quite squeeze out the third one.

Where do we venture this season?

For starters, five different goaltenders will see time in net at some point this season, and I think Carter Hart will play a handful of meaningful games in the second half. If Brian Elliott stays healthy, he'll be re-signed for one more season as a veteran presence to Hart, who will win the job in 2019-20.

- Boruk

Hakstol's milestone
Dave Hakstol will pass Peter Laviolette for third place in career victories with 146 when the Flyers edge Laviolette's Predators in Nashville on New Year's Day

- Boruk

Vorobyev will score at least 40 points
Mikhail Vorobyev was the most impressive Flyer during training camp and preseason and won the third-line center spot fair and square. He did so by recording a team-high seven points but also displaying a complete, 200-foot game. His vision and playmaking ability wow you.

I've liked Vorobyev for a couple of years. He popped during the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships and he finished his first year in North America strong last season. He did exactly what you want a young player to do in a competitive environment this training camp. He knocked the door down and not only earned a spot, but he also took it from a veteran.

I don't think the 21-year-old is in over his head, either. He's a mature player who's responsible in his own end, and that's important for a young player in this environment.

Vorobyev will be centering a third line that features some pretty talented wingers — likely two of James van Riemsdyk, Wayne Simmonds and Oskar Lindblom. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the 40-point mark is out of reach for Vorobyev.

In fact, I think he'll eclipse that. I think the Flyers have hit big on a fourth-rounder.

- Dougherty

Provorov will score 20 goals, be in Norris Trophy convo
The Flyers haven't had a 20-goal defenseman since Mark Howe in 1985-86. Howe also topped the 20-goal mark in 1982-83. That will change this season.

Provorov is poised to leap into stardom in his third season. He finished his sophomore season with a big jump and finished tied for the NHL lead among blueliners with 17 goals.

It was a pretty quiet 17 too if you ask me.

This season, Provorov changes that. I see him not only being the steady defensive player he already is at 21 years old, I believe he'll be even better in his own end.

But, I see him figuring out the power play and that will pay dividends on the stat sheet. Provorov scores 21 goals and 55 points. He won't win the Norris Trophy, but we'll see his name pop up in the conversation. This kid is special and he's only going to get better.

- Dougherty

'Ghost' set for scary numbers
Gostisbehere blew me away in the preseason.

He skated and dazzled with the puck like a swift center. There were times when instead of making the simple, side-to-side pass to start creating momentum up ice, he would shake the opposing player in front of him — and with ease.

His shot was lethal and accurate. With the addition of James van Riemsdyk, he'll be even more dangerous running the power-play point.

Big things are ahead. He'll somewhat flirt with Mark Howe's franchise record of most points (82) in a season by a defenseman. Let's say 75, why not? He looks that good.

- Hall

Patrick doesn't break out … yet
Nolan Patrick will be sound and productive, but maybe he doesn't erupt just yet.

Some are looking for that kind of jump in his second NHL season after he finally had a healthy summer.

But we need to remember that he just turned 20 years old last month and he'll be among a talented group of forwards, so production will go around.

The 2017 second overall pick also does a lot of positive things that don't always show up in point totals. He's going to have a nice season and I could see his growth as an NHL player coming along at a steady pace, not in one crazy leap and bound.

- Hall

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Subpar start leads to Flyers loss vs. Lightning but doesn't hurt spot in NHL playoff race

Subpar start leads to Flyers loss vs. Lightning but doesn't hurt spot in NHL playoff race

BOX SCORE

The Flyers didn't bring their A-game to a game they needed it.

There would be no giant killing Saturday as the Flyers lost to the Lightning, 5-3, at Amalie Arena.

Goals from Ivan Provorov, James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux weren't enough for the Flyers (32-20-7), who are 6-3-2 against the Bruins, Lightning, Capitals, Penguins and Blues, the league's top five clubs.

Tampa Bay is the only one the Flyers haven't beaten. They'll get a final crack at the Lightning on March 12 in the same building.

The Lightning (39-15-5) have won 10 straight games.

• This really wasn't a bad loss for the Flyers.

They were at the end of a road trip and playing the NHL's hottest team. Tampa Bay is 22-2-1 over its last 25 games and hasn't lost at home since Dec. 19.

The Flyers entered Saturday with a 66.9 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Hockey-Reference.com, and still hold an Eastern Conference wild-card spot (see standings).

Alain Vigneault's team just needs to recharge and be ready for a big home-and-home set against the Blue Jackets next week.

• Things got chippy in the second period. Travis Konecny was right in the middle of it all.

Steven Stamkos appeared to trip Giroux before a faceoff. Giroux didn't even look to be that mad about it.

During the final 6:09 of the middle frame, 22 penalty minutes were accrued.

• Brayden Point (10-game point streak) is good at hockey.

• Carter Hart, who was coming off his first road victory since Nov. 10, allowed four goals on 23 shots.

The 21-year-old wasn't the problem.

The first goal was a fluky one by Alex Killorn. On the second, Provorov was sloppy with the puck in the defensive zone and Tampa Bay capitalized to take a 2-0 lead into first intermission.

In the middle stanza, the Lightning beat Hart on a 3-on-2 to grab a commanding 3-0 advantage. Tampa Bay improved to 33-4-3 when it scores three or more goals.

Not only are the Lightning really good, but the Flyers also didn't play their typical forechecking, possession-based game until it was too late.

• Outside of the van Riemsdyk's third-period goal, Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy was strong with 30 saves, 15 of which came in the final stanza. 

Vasilevskiy improved to 18-0-1 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .940 save percentage over his last 19 starts.

• Provorov was far from his best against Tampa Bay but he did score the Flyers' first goal to trim the Lightning's lead to 3-1 in the second period. He also had an assist.

The 23-year-old has grown into a power play quarterback this season. He leads all NHL defensemen with seven man advantage goals after scoring only two over his first three NHL seasons.

• Travis Sanheim played 19:43 minutes Saturday after missing almost the entire third period of Thursday's 6-2 win over the Panthers because of a lower-body issue.

• The Flyers are off Sunday, practice at 11:30 a.m. Monday in Voorhees, New Jersey and host the Blue Jackets Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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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Flyers, Lightning have 4 p.m. start on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Flyers, Lightning have 4 p.m. start on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Saturday's game should be a good one.

The Flyers and Lightning are two of the hottest teams in the NHL. Since Jan. 8, the Flyers have the league's most goals (52) and only one team has more points (21) — the Lightning (27).

Tampa Bay is also on a nine-game winning streak and 21-2-1 over its last 24 games.

The big showdown comes a little earlier than usual. Puck drop will be shortly after 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, with Flyers Pregame Live set for 3:30 p.m. ET.

The matchup finishes off a three-game road trip for the Flyers, who then play four of their next five games at the Wells Fargo Center.

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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