The get-to-know-you-well sprint that is the 2020-21 NHL season will begin with a bang for the Flyers as they open against the Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 13.
With four realigned divisions, the Flyers will play in the East group against the Bruins, Sabres, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Penguins and Capitals. They'll play those clubs eight times apiece.
"It’s going to make for some interesting games," Kevin Hayes said Tuesday. "Playing the same team over and over again, eight times, there’s bound to be bad blood, there’s bound to be some big hits and big plays."
Some notes on the schedule:
• The Flyers have eight back-to-back sets.
• The Flyers' longest stretch of consecutive home games is four (twice).
• The Flyers' longest stretch of consecutive road games is five (Feb. 26-March 7).
• The Flyers' longest stretch of days between games is two.
• The Flyers will fly to Boston, Buffalo and Pittsburgh. They'll travel via bus to Washington, New Jersey and the two New York clubs.
"It becomes a lot like playoff hockey, you’re going to be playing back-to-backs against the same team, whether it’s in your building or on the road," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Monday. "It’s going to be a little bit different, but at the end of the day, you’re trying to win games so that you can get into the playoffs and have an opportunity to compete for the Stanley Cup. We’re going to be in a tough battle, but I really believe that our group, once we all get back to Philly, is going to be excited, is going to be ready for this challenge and this opportunity.”
In 2019-20, the Flyers went 7-4-2 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 6-5-2 in the second game. They were 24-7-1 after they had one day between games and 9-7-3 after two days between games.
Carter Hart played only once on no days rest during the regular season and it was in relief duty. In his only back-to-back scenario of the playoffs, the 22-year-old shut out the Canadiens in Game 4 of the first-round series but then allowed four goals in a 5-3 Game 5 loss. Hart played a lot on no days rest in his junior hockey career, during the WHL regular season and playoffs.
Regardless of the back-to-back trends, veteran backup Brian Elliott will be an important piece to the Flyers' goals of clinching a playoff berth and making a run.
The Flyers open training camp Jan. 3 in Voorhees, New Jersey, where the roster construction will get underway.
“A shortened schedule but a more condensed schedule, if ever we’re going to need depth at all positions, it’s going to be this year," Vigneault said. “We’re going to be playing four games in six nights, a lot of back-to-backs, you’re going to need depth throughout the lineup.”
Here's the Flyers' full schedule, with the start times to be announced on a later date:
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