Flyers

Flyers at Blue Jackets: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Blue Jackets: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Updated: 1:55 p.m.

The Flyers are aiming to win consecutive games for the first time this season.

An old friend stands in the way Thursday night as the Flyers (3-3-0) visit the Blue Jackets (3-2-0).

Let's look at some notables before puck drop:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Nationwide Arena
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports App

• Mikhail Vorobyev will see the first healthy scratch of his NHL career. It certainly felt possible head coach Dave Hakstol would turn to 28-year-old Corban Knight after Vorobyev played just 8:04 Tuesday and was bumped down to the fourth line (see story).

Scott Laughton at third-line center between Michael Raffl and Wayne Simmonds sparked the second-period eruption Tuesday, resulting in the 21-year-old Vorobyev playing so little and as the fourth-unit left winger.

The rookie is a minus-3 with no points or shots in his last four games. Now, Knight will make his Flyers debut after beginning the year on season-opening injured reserve. He had a productive 2017-18 with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, putting up 14 goals, 23 assists and a plus-20 mark in 58 regular-season games.

• Sergei Bobrovsky has been a thorn in the Flyers' side ever since the organization traded him to the Blue Jackets during June 2012. Against his former team, Bobrovsky is 10-3-1 with a 1.91 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in 14 career matchups with the Flyers.

The 2018-19 season is a big one for the two-time Vezina Trophy winner as Bobrovsky can become an unrestricted free agent after the year and his future in Columbus is uncertain.

Last time out, the 30-year-old was lit up by eight goals Saturday against the Lightning, so you can presume he'll be pretty motivated and focused vs. the Flyers.

• The Flyers must start faster. They have yet to score the first goal of a game through six contests. They were the slower and sloppier team Tuesday against a winless Panthers group, which simply outplayed the Flyers in the opening frame.

Then, the Flyers flipped a switch in the second period and ripped off five goals. They definitely look like a sense-of-urgency type of team, a trait we've seen in years past.

The Blue Jackets have scored first in three games this season, winning all three times.

• The Flyers went 2-1-1 against Columbus last season. Three of the games were 2-1 decisions, while the other was a 5-3 win by the Blue Jackets. Provided some of the early trends of 2018-19, a low-scoring game doesn't feel likely (see story). Then again, the Flyers will have to get to Bobrovsky.

• Calvin Pickard gets the start in net for the Flyers. He has faced the Blue Jackets just once in his career, back on Jan. 16, 2016. He made 19 saves on 21 shots.

Projected lineup

Forwards
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Oskar Lindblom-Jordan Weal-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Scott Laughton-Wayne Simmonds
Dale Weise-Jori Lehtera-Corban Knight

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg-Christian Folin
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Calvin Pickard
Brian Elliott

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Flyers' Travis Konecny out indefinitely with concussion after hit from Mark Borowiecki

Flyers' Travis Konecny out indefinitely with concussion after hit from Mark Borowiecki

VOORHEES, N.J. — Monday started with bad news for the Flyers.

Travis Konecny, their 22-year-old leading scorer, is out indefinitely with a concussion.

Konecny was leveled in open ice by Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki during the first period of the Flyers' 4-3 win Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center. He left the game and never returned.

The 2015 first-round pick is on pace to shatter his career highs. He's been arguably the Flyers’ most important piece to their turnaround through 30 games of 2019-20.

He has 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) after having 28 points through the team's first 50 games last season. The Flyers are 2-4-4 in games that he hasn't scored.

I didn’t know a ton about him. I knew he competed like hell, fiery player," Matt Niskanen, in his first year with the Flyers, said Monday. "Playing with him, that’s reinforced that thought — hungry on the puck, good quickness, really good at creating turnovers. He’s shown a pretty good scoring touch, too, so far this year. A lot of good tools and he’s been a really important player for us.

Philippe Myers left the Flyers' skill practice Monday with back spasms. With Konecny out and Myers potentially out for Wednesday's game in Colorado against the Avalanche (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN), the Flyers will most likely have only 12 healthy forwards and six healthy defensemen to open a three-game road trip.

Niskanen, who has 125 career postseason games on his résumé and a Stanley Cup title, said this can be a good challenge for the Flyers. The team is 12-3-4 and tied with the Capitals for the most points in the NHL at 28 since Nov. 1 (see weekly observations).

"Both guys have played really well for us," he said. "Hopefully they come back, we've been on a pretty good run here. But it gives somebody an opportunity and it tests us a little bit — and that's OK, early in the year, you're going to have to learn to deal with things."

As of Monday morning, the Flyers did not have plans to make a call-up. Forward Chris Stewart will enter the lineup and defenseman Robert Hagg will, as well, if Myers is unable to go in Colorado.

Head coach Alain Vigneault said it's uncertain if Konecny will or can travel with the Flyers. The team flies to Denver Tuesday afternoon.

"At this time, I would say no," Vigneault said, "but you never know how things change."

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Flyers weekly observations: Scott Laughton's importance, high praise for Ivan Provorov

Flyers weekly observations: Scott Laughton's importance, high praise for Ivan Provorov

While the Flyers lost their winning streak and point streak, they still put together a productive 2-1-0 week.

Alain Vigneault's team is 7-1-1 over its last nine games, a stretch in which the Flyers have allowed 2.11 goals per game. Since Nov. 1, the Flyers are 12-3-4 and tied with the Capitals for most points in the NHL at 28, continuing to make strides under the new coaching staff.

We'll get into that and more with our weekly observations:

• Scott Laughton's performance in Saturday's emotion-filled 4-3 win over the Senators served as a microcosm of his importance to the Flyers.

The team-first attitude, the hard skating, the physicality, the forechecking, the penalty killing and the secondary scoring.

He is not undervalued by the Flyers.

If I look at today’s game where it got heated, he’s one of the guys I thought that responded the best. He responded in a physical nature when the opportunity was there, but when he needed to make plays with the puck or defend, he did that — he did both of those things.

As a coach, it’s really easy to trust a player when he’s doing the right things and playing the right way on the ice.

- Vigneault

And check out these marks: the Flyers are 7-0-0 when Laughton records a point and 6-1-1 since his return following a 13-game absence because of a broken finger.

• In 30 games, Ivan Provorov has already matched his goal total from last season (seven) and set career highs on the power play (four goals, six assists).

He's projected to pass his numbers from a breakout 2017-18 season in which he scored 17 goals and 41 points. The 22-year-old's rebound from his letdown 2018-19 campaign might be the most impactful development to the Flyers' overall rebound so far in 2019-20.

Before the Coyotes' 3-1 win Thursday over the Flyers, Arizona head coach Rick Tocchet extolled Provorov.

"I think he's one of the best young defensemen in the league," Tocchet said, via Coyotes public relations.

"He plays with an edge in a sense that he doesn’t play safe. He’s up the ice, he makes plays, he’s not scared the way he plays. Not so much scared physically, just the way he plays, he’s trying to win the game. As a young guy, he wants to be in those spots. When I watch him, he wants the puck. I love young kids like that, they’re not scared.”

When asked if Provorov reminded him of anyone, Tocchet said "a little bit of Phil Housley," who is a Hall of Fame blueliner and now an assistant coach with Arizona.

• Carter Hart owns 10 wins and a 2.39 goals-against average.

By Dec. 8 of last season, Brian Elliott, Calvin Pickard, Anthony Stolarz, Michal Neuvirth and Alex Lyon had combined for 12 wins and a 3.30 goals-against average.

As much as some people want to knock the previous coaching staff, the Flyers were a mess in net at this point last season and things predictably unraveled. Really, from the outset of 2018-19, things were problematic between the pipes for the Flyers.

• One of the biggest signs of growth with the 2019-20 Flyers has been goal prevention. They've allowed 80 goals through 30 games. In 30 games last season, the Flyers gave up 111. That's 31 more goals.

A lot goes into that — goaltending and offseason acquisitions to name a few. But Vigneault's system has turned the Flyers into a more structured team.

Much more often compared to 2018-19, the Flyers, even if they're struggling to score, look like they're controlling games instead of letting the opposition do the honors. Through 30 games last season, the Flyers had 11 losses by three goals or more. This season, they have only four such defeats.

 

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