Flyers

Flyers fans, root for Craig Berube's Blues in Stanley Cup Final and please don't debate the Brayden Schenn trade

Flyers fans, root for Craig Berube's Blues in Stanley Cup Final and please don't debate the Brayden Schenn trade

The 2019 Stanley Cup Final begins Monday night and of course there are some Flyers ties.

Seems only fitting, right?

Two of those ties are Blues head coach Craig Berube and forward Brayden Schenn.

In Philly, we're not too fond of people who once played or coached here and then do well elsewhere. It's just natural. Remember when some fans huffed and puffed about the curtain calls for Chase Utley in his August 2016 return, which featured a grand slam and solo shot for No. 26?

What are you doing?! He's one of them now!

For the orange and black faithful, it can be difficult to watch a former Flyer succeed elsewhere. It might make you wonder why that success couldn't be achieved in Philadelphia, where a Cup hasn't been hoisted by the Flyers since 1975.

But if Flyers fans need to take a rooting interest in this Cup Final between the Blues and Bruins, the decision is simple: Berube's bunch.

Is there any genuine reason to have a strong distaste for Berube? He took over for Peter Laviolette, who was fired three games into the 2013-14 season. Berube led the Flyers to the playoffs that season, which ended in a first-round exit via a Game 7 loss at Madison Square Garden. Then, following one down season, he was fired as former general manager Ron Hextall put his stamp on the team by hiring Dave Hakstol.

Berube played parts of seven years in Philadelphia. He was a tough dude (still is) and Philly will always have an affinity for tough dudes.

The Blues' goal song also has Philly origins (watch the video above) and does anybody want to see Boston win? St. Louis' run has been special. Under Berube, who took over Nov. 19 as interim head coach, the Blues have gone from the NHL's basement in early January to the Stanley Cup Final. This is their 51st season and they've never won a Cup. Why not get behind that?

And, most notably, let's not get worked up over Schenn by revisiting the June 2017 trade just because he's in the Cup Final. The 27-year-old is a good player. He scored a lot of power-play goals with the Flyers. But how much better would he have made the Flyers over these last two seasons? Does he make them a contender?

Schenn complemented talent and played a prominent role on a team not there yet. Hextall capitalized on Schenn's stock with a pretty darn good trade, acquiring two first-round draft picks (and, yes, Jori Lehtera — a throw-in by the Blues).

Those draft picks were used to select Morgan Frost (2017 — 27th overall) and Joel Farabee (2018 — 14th overall), two talented forwards turning pro in 2019-20.

Prospects are prospects until they prove themselves in the NHL, but these two look promising.

Meanwhile, this season, the Flyers got comparable goal production to Schenn's from 22-year-old rookie Oskar Lindblom.

Here's a look at the stat lines:

Schenn: 72 games, 17 goals, 37 assists, 54 points, 18:35 TOI

Lindblom: 81 games, 17 goals, 16 assists, 33 points, 13:45 TOI

If Schenn wins the Cup with the Blues, he deserves it. He's certainly helped them in two seasons. But the trade was made with the big picture in mind and nobody should lose sight of that.

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Connor McDavid gives Flyers a nightmare finish to 0-2-1 road trip

Connor McDavid gives Flyers a nightmare finish to 0-2-1 road trip

BOX SCORE

Connor McDavid and company laced up the burners and blew past the Flyers on Wednesday night at Rogers Place.

The Flyers lost to the Oilers, 6-3, to finish their three-game road trip 0-2-1.

McDavid put on a five-point show to send the Flyers back home 2-2-1 overall. Alain Vigneault's team will look to find good vibes at home after traveling to Boston, New York, Lausanne, Switzerland, Prague, Czech Republic, Philadelphia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Calgary, Alberta and Edmonton, Alberta, over a span of 24 days (including the final three preseason games).

The Flyers actually had 52 shots to Edmonton's 22. You would have never guessed it.

The Oilers are 6-1-0 and scoring ... a lot.

• If you blinked, you missed McDavid and the Oilers flipping the game upside down. Trailing, 2-1, to start the middle stanza, the Flyers were actually all over Edmonton, putting six of the period's first seven shots on goal. The Flyers had a number of chances to score an early equalizer — maybe the game takes a different turn if they do.

Alas, they did not and McDavid then decided to pounce. The 22-year-old superstar went off for a goal and two assists in fewer than four minutes. Just like that, the Flyers were in a 5-1 hole.

McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and James Neal entered with a combined 16 goals in their team's six games — more goals than six NHL teams had in the same number of games or more.

The trio did further damage against the Flyers as McDavid finished with a goal and four assists, Draisaitl two goals and an assist, and Neal an assist.

• Carter Hart had a homecoming to forget. The 21-year-old from right outside of Edmonton (Sherwood Park) allowed four goals on 14 shots. The first two were more than stoppable, the third was McDavid being the best player in the world and the fourth was a power play tally.

Hart was not good and yanked in the second period. Prior to the outing, he had stopped 75 of 80 shots faced in his first three games.

• The first 10 minutes of a game are imperative to any road team in the NHL. The Flyers fell behind early in all three games of the Western Canada swing.

Against the Canucks, they trailed 5:01 into the game. Against the Flames, 1:35 into game. And against the Oilers, 1:13 into game.

The Flyers were one of the NHL's worst first-period teams in 2018-19 with a minus-31 goal differential during the opening stanza. Through five games this season, the Flyers have been outscored 5-2 in the first period. Vigneault needs more early offense to kick his system into gear.

• After going scoreless in the Flyers' first four games, his longest drought to start a season, Jakub Voracek got on the board with a first-period power play goal. He added another man advantage goal and an assist when the game was out of reach late in the third.

The 30-year-old is a player who fuels on confidence as one goal or play can lead to points in bunches. Voracek had 12 multi-point games last season and the Flyers were 9-2-1 in those contests.

They need him to bring this mojo home.

Also, remember when it was a 1-1 game at this point?

• Travis Konecny went scoreless for the first time this season. James van Riemsdyk has 15 shots on net over the past two games but no points to show for it.

• The Flyers are back at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday to play the Stars (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP). A loud start in front of the home fans would do wonders for their confidence.

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

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

At this point, Alain Vigneault's group is probably itching to come home.

First, though, the Flyers (2-1-1) have a matchup Wednesday night with Connor McDavid and the Oilers (5-1-0).

Let's get into the essentials:

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

• The Flyers are wrapping up a rather brutal stretch of travel.

Including the final three preseason games, the Flyers have been in Boston, New York, Lausanne, Switzerland, Prague, Czech Republic, Philadelphia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Calgary, Alberta and Edmonton, Alberta, over a span of 24 days.

The team returns to the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, but following a Nov. 1 matchup in New Jersey, the Flyers will have played eight neutral site/road games compared to four true home games.

Not an easy stretch, especially for a team that has been prone to slow starts in recent years past.

• The Flyers have lost the first two contests of this three-game Western Canada swing. After putting up a total of eight goals in their first two games, they've produced just three over the previous two defeats — a 3-2 shootout decision to the Canucks and a 3-1 loss to the Flames.

It would be stunning if Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek don't get things going Wednesday night. The trio has a combined one point (a Giroux assist) through the Flyers' first four games. Last season, Voracek and Giroux had a combined 14 points in the team's first four games, while van Riemsdyk suffered an injury in Game 2.

If the Flyers can come home 3-1-1 with those three not yet producing at a high clip, they'll absolutely take it.

• Carter Hart, who is from right outside of Edmonton (Sherwood Park), will start at Rogers Place for the first time as an NHLer.

The 21-year-old has worked with Oilers goaltending coach Dustin Schwartz since he was 13 years old.

• A few notes on Oilers forwards McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and James Neal:


Projected lineup

Forwards

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

Defensemen

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

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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