Flyers

Flyers at Blackhawks: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Blackhawks: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

CHICAGO — The Flyers (35-30-8, 78 points) on Thursday night will attempt to keep their slim playoff hopes alive against the Chicago Blackhawks (32-30-10, 74 points), who are just four points back of the Arizona Coyotes for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

In their only previous meeting this season, the Flyers blanked the Blackhawks, 4-0, back on Nov. 10. Sean Couturier scored two goals and Brian Elliott made 33 saves for his first shutout of the season.

Other games vital to the Flyers' playoff chances:

• Tampa Bay at Carolina, 7 p.m.
• NY Islanders at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
• Columbus at Edmonton, 9 p.m.

Let's take a look at tonight's essentials.

• When: 8:30 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 8 p.m.
• Where: United Center
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The Flyers have dropped four of the last five at the United Center and five of their last seven games here. They haven’t lost three in a row in the Windy City since the days of Chicago Stadium.

The Blackhawks enter tonight’s game with points in each of their last six games (5-0-1). Interestingly, the 'Hawks have scored two or more goals in their previous 51 games dating back to Nov. 18. 

• Justin Bailey has been recalled (again) from Lehigh Valley and will take Michael Raffl’s place in the lineup. Raffl did not make the trip to Chicago as the latest player impacted by the virus that has been spreading around the Flyers' locker room.

Bailey has seen action in seven games with the Flyers this season and is still looking for his first point since the trade.

It’s been a crazy week going up or down almost every day. At the same time, it’s nice that they’re calling me when they’re calling somebody up every time. I take that as a positive. It’s been a lot of travel, but I’m lucky that it’s only an hour and a half away. It’s been a wild week.

— Bailey

• The Flyers' power play snapped an 0-for-17 skid stretching the last seven games when Couturier scored Tuesday against the Canadiens.  

Since Jan. 9, Couturier is tied for the NHL lead with a plus-20 rating and is ranked ninth in scoring with 39 points (15 goals, 24 assists) in 30 games.  

• Carter Hart will get the start tonight in Chicago. The Flyers' rookie goaltender has lost four of his past five starts but has played considerably better recently, allowing just three goals over his past two appearances with a .961 save percentage.

• With two more points, Scott Laughton will top the 30-point mark for the first time in his career. Laughton is on pace to become the first Flyer since Joel Otto in 1996-97 to score 30 points in a season — all at even strength or shorthanded. 

Projected lineup

Forwards
James van Riemsdyk-Nolan Patrick-Claude Giroux
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Travis Konecny-Scott Laughton-Ryan Hartman
Phil Varone-Corban Knight-Justin Bailey 

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Shayne Gostisbehere-Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Maple Leafs, Golden Knights can clinch on home ice

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Maple Leafs, Golden Knights can clinch on home ice

Four first-round playoff series remain alive.

Two of those four series could end Sunday.

Both the Maple Leafs and Golden Knights can advance to the second round if they win their respective Game 6s on home ice.

Below is the full schedule for Day 12 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. You can watch the entire playoffs on the networks of NBC. 

Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs (TOR 3-2)
Game 6, Eastern Conference first round
3 p.m. ET | TV: NBC | Live stream here

San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights (VGK 3-2)
Game 6, Western Conference first round
7 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here

Old acquaintances, new acquaintances and Flyers flavor as Alain Vigneault gets head start

Old acquaintances, new acquaintances and Flyers flavor as Alain Vigneault gets head start

These are chaotic times for Alain Vigneault.

Exciting, of course, but chaotic — much different than last April and throughout the 2018-19 season when he was without a job.

"After a year off and figuring out I'll never be the golfer that I thought I would be, it's time for me to get back to work," he said Thursday with a smile.

Back into the workforce in full force.

Not only does Vigneault have a new job, he's got two of them … starting at once.

He was introduced as the Flyers' new head coach Thursday. He is also the bench boss for Team Canada in the 2019 IIHF World Championship from May 10-26.

As busy as it is, coaching in the worlds will give Vigneault a head start on getting to know two of his most important players with the Flyers: Sean Couturier and Carter Hart.

Team Canada will also provide a unique situation with plenty of Flyers ties.

The tournament will serve as a job interview of sorts for Flyers goalie coach Kim Dillabaugh. The statuses of the team's assistant coaches Dillabaugh, Kris Knoblauch (power play), Ian Laperriere (penalty kill) and Rick Wilson (defensemen) appear nebulous with a new head coach in town.

Because of his time with Hart, Dillabaugh will join Team Canada.

"Right now, we have a solid, young goaltender that all I've heard about were positive things," Vigneault said of Hart and the Flyers' situation in net. "We're going to be able to work with him at the world championships. We decided [Wednesday], with Hockey Canada, to also bring a goalie coach — we're going to bring the Flyers' goalie coach to the world championships. He's worked with Hart and he's had real good progression with him."

On Thursday, near the top of Vigneault's to-do-list was to discuss the Flyers' staff with general manager Chuck Fletcher and meet the current assistant coaches. Fletcher said: "We're going to talk a little bit more today and a little bit over the next week or two. I don't think it's going to be a rush to hire or a rush to judgment here."

Couturier will be playing for his new coach and his old coach Dave Hakstol, who is on Team Canada's staff. Former Flyers general manager Ron Hextall is also a part of Team Canada's management group.

Don't expect Vigneault to seek out advice from Hakstol regarding the Flyers. That would be a tad bit awkward.

"I'm going to lean on him for the tournament but I'm not going to ask Dave or Ron Hextall anything about players with the Flyers," Vigneault said. "I've said to Chuck that I want to come here with everybody fresh, clean, no preconceived notion. Players are going to come and they're going to show me what they can do. 

"Those would be two great sources for me to ask, but I'd rather trust my eyes, talk to the guys, get to know them and get a personal feel for who they are, what they can do and what they can bring."

Players like Couturier, Hart and Claude Giroux shouldn't have a problem showing what they bring to the table. They're three of the Flyers' surest bets right now.

Giroux chatted with Vigneault on Thursday at Flyers Skate Zone.

"Everything I've heard about him is this passion to win," Vigneault said of the Flyers' captain.

As for Giroux on his new coach: "Very excited," he said via text message to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Marc Farzetta. "Heard a lot of great things."

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