The Flyers meet the halfway point of their 2020-21 season on Thursday night.
Could they be at a crossroads?
After suffering one of the worst defeats in franchise history, the Flyers (14-10-3) need to show something to the front office and their fans when they take on the Islanders (19-7-4).
Let's get into the essentials for the game:
- When: 7 p.m. ET with The Warm Up at 6 p.m. ET and Flyers Pregame Live at 6:15 p.m. ET
- Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
- Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
• Inevitably and deservedly, teams that give up nine goals in a game — let alone in two periods — will be doubted.
Many probably already have their verdict on the legitimacy of the 2020-21 Flyers. If anything, the Flyers' playoff chances are going to be questioned after the club was humiliated Wednesday night by the Rangers, 9-0, at Madison Square Garden.
General manager Chuck Fletcher will closely evaluate the team's final eight games in March as he mulls his April 12 trade deadline motives.
"Nothing about this game was any good," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "We're going to throw it out and get ready for the next one."
So do good teams give up nine goals? Can a clunker be that bad?
The Flyers will ultimately provide their answers, but here's an interesting case from their bench boss' past:
In 2013-14, when Vigneault took the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final, New York lost its third game of the season, 9-2, to the Sharks. The Rangers then followed it up with a 6-0 loss to the Ducks.
Vigneault's team was actually 14-13-0 through 27 games. However, it was allowing only 2.44 goals per game but scoring only 2.22 per game. The 2020-21 Flyers are 14-9-3 and scoring 3.22 goals per game but surrendering 3.48 per game.
Most recently, the Canadiens lost, 10-0, to the Blue Jackets in 2016-17. It was their first regulation loss that season as they started 9-0-1 prior to taking the drubbing. Montreal finished with 103 points and made the playoffs.
What makes the Flyers' 9-0 defeat perhaps more glaring than these examples is that it came just before the midway point of a shortened 56-game regular season. And the Flyers had been seeing a trend of struggling to prevent goals before the problem boiled over Wednesday night.
We'll see if the Flyers have the personnel and push to find their 2019-20 form before it's too late.
• There's a saying commonly used in sports: it's only one game.
An impressive response 24 hours after the 9-0 embarrassment could go a long way in making that only one game.
What's the key to getting out of this?
"Short memory," Vigneault said Wednesday night.
• The Flyers have another change on defense as Robert Hagg has been placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. Nate Prosser, who was recalled from the taxi squad, will take his place in the lineup.
Alex Lyon and Carsen Twarynski were also recalled from the taxi squad.
On Wednesday night, the Flyers' promising young defensive pair of Philippe Myers and Travis Sanheim experienced a game full of growing pains. Both finished with a minus-6 rating.
"I was on the ice for a lot of goals against," Sanheim said. "Obviously not doing my job and it starts with me — I've got to take ownership of that."
Michael Raffl is unavailable tonight for maintenance reasons. He recently returned from a swollen right hand that hasn't been 100 percent.
• The Islanders announced on Monday that their captain Anders Lee was set to undergo season-ending ACL surgery.
James van Riemsdyk-Sean Couturier-Joel Farabee
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek
Carsen Twarynski-Nolan Patrick-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Ivan Provorov-Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
Erik Gustafsson-Nate Prosser
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