Alain Vigneault's team will change things up a bit as it takes on another challenge at the Wells Fargo Center.
After hosting the Capitals and Lightning, the Flyers (23-16-6) welcome the Bruins (27-8-11) Monday.
Let's get into the essentials:
• When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
• Where: Wells Fargo Center
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
• Connor Bunnaman is the latest to get a crack at fourth-line center.
The Flyers have tried just about every player and combination within their bottom six, especially on the fourth line.
Because of injuries and inconsistency, the Flyers are still searching for their desired depth 45 games into the season. That search could heat up externally as the Feb. 24 trade deadline gets closer.
“I think what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to give some players an opportunity to show that they can play in the NHL, and they can perform and help a team, and contribute to a team winning," Vigneault said Monday after morning skate. "We’ve given a couple of guys some looks, we’re going to continue until we find the right guys that are going to be a part of that winning formula, so that we have success. That’s where we are right now."
Near the end of training camp and the preseason, general manager Chuck Fletcher was high on Bunnaman's ability at fourth-line center. The 21-year-old opened 2019-20 with the big club, was sent down to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley after four games and then missed a month because of a high ankle sprain.
As he's gotten healthier, the 6-foot-3, 214-pounder has played better, putting up three goals and an assist in his last four games for Scott Gordon's Phantoms.
"For the last week there, Scott had been happy with his play, so he gives us skating ability, he gives us size in the middle and hopefully he can make the right decisions with the puck,” Vigneault said.
Bunnaman will try to be noticeable in limited minutes.
You’re not out there a lot, you’re 100 percent, you’re not as tired going out for another shift — kind of think of it that way, a positive way.
It’s important to make sure you’re not just another jersey out there getting lost.
• Vigneault has shaken up his lines considerably with the Bruins coming to town. Boston, which is tied with the Capitals and Blues for the NHL's most points (65), features one of hockey's best lines in Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.
Pastrnak leads the league in goals (35) and is fourth in points (65), while Marchand is right behind him (62). The trio is a combined plus-47.
The Flyers will rely heavily on Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen, along with their reshaped top-two lines.
“I’m sure a lot of teams have tried shutting them down — both their top two guys have got over 60 points, it’s not an easy task," Vigneault said. "We’re probably going to need two lines that are going to permit us to do that. That’s also part of shuffling some of the lines. I’m hoping we can get two lines. Nisky and Provy have been pretty good facing the challenge of top performers. It’s going to be a good test for us."
• Carter Hart is 3-0-0 with a 2.23 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in three career games against the Bruins.
Claude Giroux-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Scott Laughton-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Joel Farabee-Connor Bunnaman-Tyler Pitlick
Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg-Mark Friedman
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