Flyers

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

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

Updated: 8:53 p.m.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Flyers are hoping to take a much-needed win out of Vancouver as they wrap up a five-game road trip.

Saturday night’s game will be the difference between an average five-game road trip and a terrible one. With a win, the Flyers can finish at 2-2-1. However, with a regulation loss, they’ll wrap up the five-game trip at 1-3-1.

The Flyers haven’t lost four straight on the road since Nov. 14-27 of last season.`

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

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

• The Flyers, along with the Wild, have scored the first goal in just 10 games so far this season — an NHL low. During their current five-game road trip, the Flyers have surrendered that first goal in the first four games.

“When we get down, I don’t know what it is," Shayne Gostisbehere said, "but we get really down on ourselves and turn into a negative bunch.” 

• The Flyers typically need to score at least four goals to assure themselves a win. They're 1-14-2 when they score three or fewer goals this season, 11-0-2 when they score four or more. Their only three-goal victory came Oct. 30 in Anaheim.

Defensively, the Flyers have been burned by the opposition’s top-line center. Buffalo’s Jack Eichel, Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele, Calgary’s Sean Monahan and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid have combined for six goals and five assists (11 points in four games) on this road trip.

Vancouver’s No. 1 center, Bo Horvat, comes into Saturday’s game with seven points (four goals, three assists) over his last seven games and is currently second on the team with 29 points. 

• Tonight’s game will also feature two top-five picks from the 2017 NHL draft. The Flyers' Nolan Patrick, drafted second, and Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson, selected fifth, will square off for the first time in their pro careers. 

Pettersson has been the NHL’s top rookie this season, topping all first-year players with 16 goals, 17 assists and 33 points. He’s the clear front-runner for the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie.

With five goals and five assists, Patrick has undoubtedly struggled throughout his sophomore season. The 20-year-old center has just one point over his last 13 games. Saturday in Edmonton, Patrick was demoted to fourth-line center for the first time in his career but still managed 14:40 of ice time.

• The Flyers' power play failed them once again in Edmonton Friday night, finishing 0 for 5, which included a four-minute double minor. After scoring five power-play goals in their first four games of the season, the Flyers are 7 for 69 over their last 26 games, or 10.1 percent, prompting Sean Couturier to lash out.

Lately our power play — I mean all year — we’ve been doing nothing. It’s horrible. Right now, we’re just passing it around and we’re not doing anything, and it’s killing the momentum.

• Vancouver is beginning to rebound from a terrible stretch of hockey that saw it go 1-10-1 from Nov. 12 to Dec. 4. Since then, the Canucks have rebounded with a 3-0-1 mark over their last four games.

• The Canucks are, by far, one of the worst third-period teams in hockey, with a goal differential of minus-11. Vancouver has allowed an NHL-high 46 goals in the final period of regulation, with the Senators and Red Wings next on the list with 41.

Projected lineup

Forwards
Wayne Simmonds-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Claude Giroux-Nolan Patrick-Michael Raffl
James van Riemsdyk-Jordan Weal-Travis Konecny
Scott Laughton-Jori Lehtera-Dale Weise

Defensemen
Andrew MacDonald-Ivan Provorov
Robert Hagg-Radko Gudas
Travis Sanheim-Shayne Gostisbehere

Goalies
Anthony Stolarz
Alex Lyon

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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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