Flyers

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

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

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.

Projected lineup

Forwards

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

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg-Mark Friedman

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Travis Konecny, James van Riemsdyk click as Flyers deliver much-needed response with win over Kings

Travis Konecny, James van Riemsdyk click as Flyers deliver much-needed response with win over Kings

BOX SCORE

That’s more like it.

Head coach Alain Vigneault challenged his team to play on its terms and the Flyers responded with a 4-1 win Saturday night over the Kings at the Wells Fargo Center, just two days after a sloppy 4-1 home loss to the Canadiens.

The Flyers (26-17-6) have earned at least a point in 20 of 24 home games (16-4-4).

With the victory, the Flyers are two points out of third place in the Metropolitan Division and hold the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot.

The Kings (18-27-5) have lost seven of their last eight games since beating the Flyers, 5-3, on New Year’s Eve.

• Vigneault was not happy with the letdown against Montreal on home ice after such a positive stretch in which the Flyers took down the NHL’s three best teams.

“We’ve got to execute, we’ve got to compete,” Vigneault said Saturday after morning skate. “We’re at our best when we’re on top of people, we’re taking people out of the equation.”

For the most part, the Flyers took the Kings out of the equation, a team that put up four first-period goals on the orange and black in the previous meeting.

• Vigneault put Travis Konecny and James van Riemsdyk on a line with Claude Giroux down the middle.

Konecny and van Riemsdyk instantly clicked. JVR found Konecny twice as the duo handed the Flyers a 2-0 lead (see highlights).

Konecny is eight goals and eight points away from setting new career highs in both categories, while the Flyers are 8-0-0 this season when the 22-year-old records a multi-point game.

Meanwhile, van Riemsdyk tacked on the Flyers’ fourth goal to give him a three-point game. The big winger has five points (one goal, four assists) in his last four games.

The Flyers go to a different level when he produces — 15-3-0 in games that he registers at least one point.

Giroux was sharp, as well, with two assists after he had scored just one point in his previous five games.

A good call by Vigneault.

• Brian Elliott received a rare home start with Carter Hart out (right lower abdominal strain) two to three weeks.

The 34-year-old goalie was reliable once again with 34 saves after knocking off the defending champion Blues with 30 saves Wednesday.

The Flyers will need him next Tuesday against the Penguins.

• Joel Farabee has two goals in the last two games after scoring two goals in his previous 30 games.

The 19-year-old climbed to the Flyers with a goal-scoring prowess and could be a crucial secondary option to the team down the stretch.

Expect his role to grow (see story).

• Justin Braun and Robert Hagg were solid as a new defensive pair.

• Nolan Patrick on Saturday got in more work with skills coach Angelo Ricci.

Patrick, who is recovering from a migraine disorder, has not been cleared for contact and there is no timetable for his return. Patrick and the Flyers have said the expectation is for the 21-year-old center to play this season.

“He’s been skating harder,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Tuesday. “Getting his heart rate up higher, I think he’s feeling a bit better. Again, it’s hard to predict. Once we have certain information, if he’s cleared for contact or anything like that, we will obviously let you guys know right away. I can just tell you from the on- and off-ice workouts he’s doing, he is progressing. But there certainly isn’t any clear path as to which way this will go.

“We still think he has a real good future ahead of him and speaking with a lot of the medical people that have dealt with him, they all anticipate him coming back and so that's why I'm optimistic he will, but I just can't give you a timeframe.”

• The Flyers host the Penguins Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN) before going on their NHL-mandated Jan. 22-30 bye week.

Konecny will represent the Flyers at the NHL All-Star festivities Jan. 24-25 in St. Louis (see story).

 

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As Jeff Carter's Kings make trip to Philly, is the former Flyer a trade deadline target?

As Jeff Carter's Kings make trip to Philly, is the former Flyer a trade deadline target?

Jeff Carter was back in Philadelphia Saturday night as his Kings played the Flyers.

After the Feb. 24 trade deadline, could he be somewhere else other than Los Angeles?

It's not outside the realm of possibility.

The Kings entered Saturday's action in the basement of the Western Conference and may be a team looking to sell some veteran parts to a contender.

Carter is 35 years old but under contract for next season and 2021-22 with a cap hit of $5,272,727, according to CapFriendly.com. The center brings a lot of pedigree as a two-time Stanley Cup champion and a four-time 30-plus goal-scorer. He can still score the puck a bit as he's projected to finish with 23 goals this season.

If Los Angeles wants to retool and shifts its focus to the future, Carter has the potential to earn it a decent return if contending teams are interested in his services.

Has he ever thought about playing in Philly again?

“I don’t want to leave L.A., I can tell you that right now," he said to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Taryn Hatcher on Saturday night's edition of Flyers Pregame Live. "But I loved playing in Philly, I had some great years here, I have a lot of friends and family. Whatever happens, happens.

"It’s been a long time since I played here but I still enjoy coming back, a lot friends here, my wife’s from here, so some family and stuff like that. Always enjoy coming back and seeing everybody.”

While the Flyers are a team that could be looking for depth and scoring down the middle, they're not exactly in position to trade for a player with the contract like Carter's deal. They would have to include players from their roster in the exchange or make other moves. Subtracting, or doing so significantly, is probably not their plan right now.

"It’s hard to trade a fourth-round pick for a $4 million player," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Tuesday (see story). "With our group right now, I don’t know that’s what we’re looking to do. If we can improve our team, we will."

But you never know. Carter certainly knows anything can happen in this business.

"I love playing in L.A. and being a part of this team," he said. "We’ll see where it goes.”

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