Flyers

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

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

The Flyers enter Saturday night as one of the four remaining unbeaten teams in the NHL.

They've played only two games, but the 2-0-0 record should be refreshing for fans following sluggish starts in recent years past.

After all, the Flyers have just three 2-0-0 starts over last 20 years — 2019-20, 2011-12 and 2009-10.

They have an opportunity tonight to improve to 3-0-0 when they face the Canucks (1-2-0) in Game 1 of a three-game road trip.

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 10 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 9:30 p.m. ET
Where: Rogers Arena
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• Alain Vigneault is in his 17th season as an NHL head coach. One of his teams has started 3-0-0 — the 2015-16 Rangers, who finished with 101 points.

The Flyers will try to make it two of his teams to win their first three games.

A key to Vigneault's north-south, hard-on-the-attack system is staying fresh. That means divvying up minutes and being precise in doing so to sustain that style.

Claude Giroux played 17:31 in the season opener and 16:59 in the first game at the Wells Fargo Center. The 31-year-old captain played fewer than 17:31 minutes only twice all of last season.

If the Flyers want to be tougher to play against, rolling out four lines consistently is imperative. There's no denying how often the Flyers struggled to play a full 60 minutes last season. This team needs to change that in 2019-20.

If you are able to keep your shifts at 30, 35 seconds, usually you’ve got a pretty good pace to that game. I’ll point you to one moment in the first period, I thought for the first 10, 11 minutes, we were playing well, we were going north-south and then all of the sudden we had two guys that got caught out there extending a shift and we sort of lost momentum there for a little bit.

If you can keep those shifts down to 30, 35 seconds, you’ve got a good pace to your game and you should be able to do a lot of good things out there. I think that’s what we’ve done so far.

- Vigneault after Wednesday's 4-0 win over the Devils

• Travis Konecny has five points through two games this season.

Last season, he had five points through 13 games. If the 22-year-old winger finds consistency in 2019-20, he will shatter his career high of 49 points.

• Carter Hart has stopped 53 of 56 shots in the Flyers' two victories.

Last season, Hart made 41 saves on 42 shots in a 2-1 win over the Canucks. The 21-year-old has two career games of 41 saves, his personal high.

• The Canucks are coming off an 8-2 win over the Kings.

J.T. Miller, who played under Vigneault in New York for parts of five seasons, has five points through three games. The 26-year-old forward owns seven career goals against the Flyers, his most against any opponent.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Kevin Hayes-Jakub Voracek
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk-Scott Laughton-Carsen Twarynski
Connor Bunnaman-Michael Raffl-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim-Matt Niskanen
Robert Hagg-Shayne Gostisbehere

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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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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Senators' Brady Tkachuk fined maximum allowable amount for crosscheck on Flyers' Scott Laughton

Senators' Brady Tkachuk fined maximum allowable amount for crosscheck on Flyers' Scott Laughton

Suffice it to say Scott Laughton got the best of the Senators on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

He was the first star in the Flyers' 4-3 victory, scored the game-winning goal during the third period, added an assist, stood up for his teammates and got under the skin of Ottawa forward Brady Tkachuk.

So much so that Tkachuk went after Laughton, crosschecking the 25-year-old forward in the back and jumping him during the final minute of regulation. The NHL reacted quickly to the play, fining Tkachuk $2,486.56, the maximum allowable under the CBA.

Following his third-period marker, Laughton had words for the Senators' bench. He was fired up, especially after Ottawa's hits on Travis Konecny and Joel Farabee, which led to some fights. Laughton could not partake in the dropping of the gloves because he recently returned following surgery on a broken finger, which is still healing.


I knew it was coming. It’s part of the game when you do that stuff and chirp the bench, you know it’s going to come. I just can’t drop my gloves right now with my finger and everything. I’ve got some padding there so once I do that, I guess it’s a penalty or something. That’s just the way it went.

- Laughton

But Laughton still had the backs of his teammates. He was physical throughout, especially after the first-period hits on Konecny and Farabee. He also allowed his game to do the talking.

Laughton has four goals in his last six contests and the Flyers are 6-1-1 since his return following a 13-game absence because of the finger injury.

Would Laughton have liked to fight?

"Yeah," he said.

He did plenty enough.

Tkachuk's crosscheck and check to the league are proof of Laughton's work.

 

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