Flyers

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

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

Let the race begin.

After a nine-day layoff thanks to the All-Star break and their NHL-mandated bye week, the Flyers (27-17-6) return to action Friday when they visit the Penguins (31-14-5).

With 32 games remaining, the Flyers are three points out of third place in the competitive Metropolitan Division and one point out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: PPG Paints Arena
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• Following Thursday's practice, head coach Alain Vigneault exuded confidence about his team's push for the playoffs.

After all, there's no reason he shouldn't be confident. This is Vigneault's fourth NHL head coaching gig. His overall record in Year 1 at his four stops is 158-106-32 with a .588 points percentage. With the Canadiens, Canucks and Rangers, each of Vigneault's first seasons resulted in playoff bids and at least one series win.

He has plans to make it 4 for 4 with the Flyers.

“I expected to be in and I’ve said all along, and I’m still saying it today, that we’re going to get into the playoffs," Vigneault said. "I believe that we’ve got the talent, we’ve got the veteran group, we’ve got good young players. We’re going to get in.

"We’re exactly where I’d thought we would be. If you try to break down the season, number of points, what you’ve got to get per 10-game segments, we’re right on track. It might take a few more points than I originally thought, and that’s how competitive the Eastern Conference is, but it’s great for everybody.

"As a player, as a coach, that’s why you’re in this business — this competitiveness and that’s what we’ve got.”

• The Flyers should expect the Penguins to come out with purpose. Pittsburgh was not happy with its final game before the extended break, a 3-0 loss to the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center.

"It was a lack of executing, lack of attention to detail, no sense of urgency, no cooperative play," Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said after the Jan. 21 defeat. "Can’t play that way in this league and expect to win.

"We were easy to play against, that’s what I think. We didn’t chip bodies, finish checks. We didn’t make great decisions with the puck. We didn’t execute when we had it. There’s nothing positive that I can draw on from this game."

Pittsburgh hasn't lost consecutive games since Nov. 29-30, a stretch in which it has gone 17-5-1.

• Sean Couturier has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last six regular-season games against the Penguins.

Over his last 40 games this season, Couturier has put up 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) and a plus-22 mark (see story).

Projected lineup

Forwards

James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
Tyler Pitlick-Connor Bunnaman-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg-Justin Braun

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Alex Lyon

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Jeremy Roenick's #AtHomeAllStar video has surprise twist ending

Jeremy Roenick's #AtHomeAllStar video has surprise twist ending

The thing about athletes and former athletes is that they're stuck at home just like the rest of us. Only their homes are way bigger and half of them have putting greens in their backyards.

Former Flyer Jeremy Roenick shared a video where he runs a little sports obstacle course of sorts as part of a #AtHomeAllStar challenge. And he's definitely got a pretty sweet backyard.

Roenick shows of the requisite hockey skills but then dabbles in other sports. It's mildly entertaining and absolutely pointless.

The twist ending is perhaps the best part. I can relate to that part, at least.

I feel like there was a missed opportunity to do a cannonball into that pool though.

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Former Flyer Rick Tocchet knows NHL is in difficult spot with coronavirus outbreak

Former Flyer Rick Tocchet knows NHL is in difficult spot with coronavirus outbreak

With much of the sports world’s future unclear, the one thing that is crystal clear is that the situation caused by the coronavirus is something that nobody expected.

Former Flyer and current Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet feels this has all been a learning experience. 

“I didn’t think it would be that long, I thought maybe two or three weeks," Tocchet said in a video interview last Thursday with NBC Sports Philadelphia, "but then you see how serious it is.”

Tocchet as a player was as tough as they come. He did everything as a member of the Flyers' franchise and won three Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins (two as an assistant coach, one as a player). Tocchet, despite being a coach, has that player’s mentality, and the current league suspension has forced him to change his daily approach a bit.

“I’m a routine guy," he said. "When you take routine away from hockey players, you get a little stir crazy, so I try to have a routine every day.”

Part of Tocchet’s routine is checking in with his players and watching video on his computer, preparing for when and if the NHL season returns. But that won’t be an easy process for hockey, which is different as far as conditioning than the other major sports. 

“Guys need to skate, they need ice," Tocchet said.

“Guys aren’t skating, and to be able to just hop back in there, you have to give these guys a seven-to-10-day training camp.”

How the NHL season returns remains to be seen. Multiple scenarios of beginning with the playoffs have been hypothesized. Regardless of what happens, the likelihood of someone being unhappy is high. 

“I don’t know what’s fair or not," Tocchet said. "If they said teams that are in now get in, I think we’d have to swallow that, and you’re in.”

Tocchet’s Coyotes are currently four points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, so that would be an unfortunate break for the former Flyer who is looking to reach the playoffs for the first time in his third year as head coach in Arizona.

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