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Flyers vs. Blue Jackets: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Blue Jackets: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

A fun goalie matchup will be on display Saturday as the Flyers (14-15-4) welcome the Blue Jackets (19-12-3).

Let's look at the essentials:

When: 1 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• It'll be 20-year-old rookie Carter Hart against two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky.

Hart has fans excited again after winning his first two NHL starts as he made 51 saves on 54 shots to give the Flyers back-to-back wins for the time since Nov. 5-10, when they won three straight.

Bobrovsky, the former Flyer who can become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, is 3-0-1 with 106 saves on 110 shots in his last four games. He's also always been a thorn in the Flyers' side, going 12-3-1 with a 2.04 goals-against average and .929 save percentage lifetime against his old club.

• Since Nov. 23, the Flyers have the NHL's sixth-best penalty kill at 86.8 percent. Overall, the unit is still tied for 29th in the league, which shows you just how low it was before these improvements.

Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon has been known for his PK work at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. The Flyers killed off all six of the Predators' power-play opportunities in Thursday's 2-1 win. Gordon had a good quote Friday about how things work now with assistant coach Ian Laperriere, who oversees the penalty kill.

We sit and we have conversations and we talk about the different challenges that each team brings. So as we sit and we talk, there's a situation that Nashville does, as we're talking about what they're doing and how we're going to defend it, I said to Lappy, 'This is what we did in Lehigh, but you make the decision. If you think the guys are going to be more comfortable doing what we're doing, then we stick with it. If you think that this might be a good adjustment, then we'll make the adjustment.' So I leave it in his hands. 

Sometimes different ideas open up different thought processes. Like yesterday, we talked about the neutral zone, how we wanted to do something, and I had it mapped out and (assistant coach) Kris Knoblauch said to me, 'What do you think if we put this guy in this spot instead of the original spot?' So there's always a sharing of information that goes on when you're discussing what your strategy is going to be against a different opponent.

• The Flyers' power play, however, is now dead last in the NHL at 12.1 percent, which is mind-boggling considering all the talent on the unit. 

The man advantage is 7 for 79 (8.9 percent) since Oct. 13. The Blue Jackets have the next-fewest power-play goals over that span with 12.

• Here's a look at why Gordon likes Claude Giroux at center for now — and it has something to do with Nolan Patrick.

Projected lineup

Forwards
James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny 
Jakub Voracek-Sean Couturier-Wayne Simmonds
Scott Laughton-Nolan Patrick-Michael Raffl
Oskar Lindblom-Phil Varone-Dale Weise

Defensemen
Travis Sanheim-Ivan Provorov
Robert Hagg-Shayne Gostisbehere
Andrew MacDonald-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Carter Hart
Michal Neuvirth

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Flames look to avoid 2-game series deficit vs. Avalanche

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USA Today Images

2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Flames look to avoid 2-game series deficit vs. Avalanche

The NHL-best Lightning were shockingly swept by the Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The NHL's second-best team the Flames are in some first-round trouble, too. Calgary is facing a 2-1 series deficit against the Avalanche with Game 4 Wednesday night in Colorado.

Below is the full schedule for Day 8 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. You can watch the entire playoffs on the networks of NBC. 

Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs (TOR 2-1)
Game 4, Eastern Conference first round
7 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here

Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars (NSH 2-1)
Game 4, Western Conference first round
8 p.m. ET | TV: USA | Live stream here

Calgary Flames at Colorado Avalanche (COL 2-1)
Game 4, Western Conference first round
10 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here

Why Flyers did just fine with Alain Vigneault, not Joel Quenneville

Why Flyers did just fine with Alain Vigneault, not Joel Quenneville

It's uncertain how hard the Flyers went after Joel Quenneville or if the team was even in on the three-time Stanley Cup champion at all.

On the day Quenneville took the Panthers' head coaching job, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher appeared unflappable when asked about his level of disappointment with the news.

"I'm happy for Joel," Fletcher said April 8. "We're less than 48 hours since the end of our season and the process of identifying the next head coach of the Flyers will start today. We'll start the process.

"He's not available. I'm not going to speculate on names or people that may be available or were available or were available in past years. It's a big decision for the Flyers."

Backup plan or not, Fletcher didn't do too shabby with his big decision, tabbing Alain Vigneault as the Flyers' new head coach. 

Maybe there's some short-term memory with the outside perception of the hire. When you see Vigneault's name, many think of his final days with the Rangers. After four winning seasons, New York fired Vigneault last April as the team was ready for a fresh approach following a 25-point drop-off.

Well, the same happened with Quenneville. While he experienced a much longer and more fruitful run of success in Chicago, the situation eventually grew sour to the point in which new direction was wanted. Quenneville was fired 15 games into this season after his worst year with the Blackhawks in 2017-18.

Vigneault is not Quenneville. But he's no slouch, either.

The Flyers needed a coach with experience and got one.

Vigneault has led three teams to the Presidents' Trophy and two to the Stanley Cup Final. In 16 seasons as an NHL head coach, 11 have featured playoff berths, with eight of those teams advancing past the first round (see 5 takeaways).

He owns three 50-win seasons and eight 100-point seasons. The Flyers haven't won 50 or more games in a season since 1985-86 and haven't amassed 100 or more points in a season since 2011-12, when they last won a playoff series (see story).

"I think his track record speaks for itself," Fletcher said Monday. "He's had success at the junior level, had success in the minor leagues, and he's had success in the NHL. You can't have success at all those levels unless you're good at developing players and good at connecting with veteran players. He's a guy that gets his teams to play hard and gets his players to buy in."

And for Fletcher, what likely made Vigneault such an attractive candidate is the head coach's track record in Year 1 on the job. At Vigneault's previous three stops (Canadiens, Canucks, Rangers), each of his first seasons resulted in playoff bids and at least one series win. Overall, his combined record in those seasons was 131-89-26 with a .585 points percentage.

"Right now, it's about trying to continue to build our group and become as competitive as quickly as we can," Fletcher said.

Quenneville was clearly set on South Florida.

It's also clear why that didn't break the Flyers' hearts.

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