Following forgettable back-to-back losses, the Flyers have a big weekend ahead.
It starts Friday when the Flyers (5-5-1) visit the Devils (2-5-3) before returning home Saturday to welcome the Maple Leafs (6-5-3).
Let's get into the essentials for tonight:
• When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
• Where: Prudential Center
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
• Alain Vigneault has no qualms with challenging his players, even the veteran ones. He has felt the need to do so following consecutive losses to divisional opponents by a combined score of 12-4.
Right now, the head coach is looking at his core pieces, specifically Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, along with Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes and Carter Hart.
Vigneault knows how to deliver a message and has done so a few times, including Thursday after practice:
What is true about our team is no different than any other team: We need goaltending and we need our top players to lead the way for us. Lead the way by how they’re supposed to play, how they have to play on the ice. We need G to be a top-end performer like he’s been for the past few years, I need Jake to be a top-end performer like he’s been for the past few years. We need those guys to lead the way for us with their play on the ice and I’m very confident that’s going to be the case.
Starting the right way, playing the right way, starts with your top players. It starts with their leadership, their involvement in making sure that everybody is dialed in, tuned in. That goes from Kevin Hayes to Jake to G to Coots. Those are the guys that we look to for guidance. When I say we, I’m a teammate in this room. I want those guys to step up and show us the way.
I know that whether it be G, whether it be Jake, whether it be Coots, whether it be Hayesey, whether it be Carter Hart, those guys know they need to be better for us to have success and they’re gonna get an opportunity [Friday] to prove it.
It's not the first time the Flyers have warranted their coach pleading for more during the opening month of a season (see story).
• Like the Flyers, the Devils have also allowed 12 goals over their past two games, both losses. New Jersey has lost eight of its first 10 games and has been outscored 41-28.
• Four rookies are expected in the lineup for the Flyers: Joel Farabee, German Rubtsov, Carsen Twarynski and Philippe Myers (see story).
"It’s certainly not about message sending," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Thursday. "As I mentioned in training camp, it’s going to be a process here early in the season and there would probably be a steady flow of players getting called up and getting sent back to Lehigh Valley. Part of it would be based on performance up here and part of it is these are young players that you want to make sure you develop them properly.
"What we’re trying to do is just balance what we need up here to have the most competitive team on the ice, as well as making sure that they’re developing and maintaining a high level of confidence.”
James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
Carsen Twarynski-German Rubtsov-Chris Stewart
Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Shayne Gostisbehere-Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
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