Flyers

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

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

VOORHEES, N.J. — Carter Hart is back … sort of.

As the Flyers (33-27-8) host the Senators (23-40-6) Monday night, Hart will dress for the first time since Feb. 21 but back up Brian Elliott.

For more on that decision, let's get into the essentials:

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

• On paper, Monday looked like an ideal time to give Hart his first action since returning from an ankle injury. The Flyers are at home against the NHL's worst team, making for an opportunistic game to get the 20-year-old back in the swing of things.

However, with the Flyers five points out of a playoff spot with 14 games to go, interim head coach Scott Gordon is looking at every team as the same.

The 33-year-old Elliott has had only one clunker while playing in place of the injured Hart, which went into Gordon's decision.

He's gone 4-1-1 in his last six games and right now, he's playing well, so I can't just take him out of the lineup because it's a perceived lesser opponent, because I don't feel that way. 

Like I said to the players, on a nightly basis, we're playing Columbus and Montreal, every single night. So we've got to treat it like that. Right now, Brian has played well and he deserves to be in. He played well on Saturday and there's no reason not to play him.

Gordon said Hart will play one of the two games in the Flyers' upcoming back-to-back against the Capitals at home Thursday and vs. the Maple Leafs on the road Friday. Either of those games pose a much stiffer challenge than Monday's contest.

"I'm not looking at it as a lesser opponent and that's what I told our guys," Gordon said.

• For your nightly scoreboard watching: the Blue Jackets visit the Islanders Monday and the Hurricanes visit the Avalanche, while the Canadiens don't play until Tuesday when they host the Red Wings.

Carolina currently holds the Eastern Conference's first wild-card position with 81 points and Columbus contains the second at 79 points, ahead of Montreal (79 points) and the Flyers (74 points).

The Blue Jackets' next five games are at the Islanders, vs. the Bruins, vs. the Hurricanes, at the Bruins and at the Flames — all top-11 clubs.

Entering Monday, Hockey-Reference.com had the Flyers with a 9.0 percent chance to make the postseason, while SportsClubStats.com gave them a 5.4 percent chance.

• Ottawa was a big-time seller at the Feb. 25 trade deadline and has lost 10 of its last 11 games (1-9-1), a stretch in which it has been outscored 46-24.

The Senators have the NHL's fewest points (52), second-worst goal differential (minus-55) and are 9-24-2 on the road.

• Without Jakub Voracek (two-game suspension), the Flyers will roll with seven defensemen and 11 forwards.

Projected lineup

Forwards
James van Riemsdyk-Nolan Patrick-Claude Giroux
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Scott Laughton-Ryan Hartman
Phil Varone-Corban Knight

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

Goalies
Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Can (and should) Flyers fans trust Alain Vigneault's process?

Can (and should) Flyers fans trust Alain Vigneault's process?

At his introductory press conference on April 18 following a year away from hockey, Alain Vigneault made a joke about why he was ready to get back into the coaching business.

“After a year off and figuring out that I’ll never be the golfer that I thought I would be,” Vigneault said, “it’s time for me to get back to work.”

Perhaps Vigneault had a difficult time sinking putts.

Following the Flyers’ 4-1 loss Saturday night to the Stars, he put out his hands, smiled and made an analogy in relation to his team.

The Flyers had just outshot Dallas 39-16. Over their past two games, the Flyers outshot the opposition 91-38.

A 53-shot advantage.

However, they had just four goals and two losses to show for it.

“It’s like a golfer that’s in regulation but can’t putt,” Vigneault said with a chuckle.

“The process is good. If you look at our overall game tonight, take a look at the scoring chances for and against, we had a pretty dominating performance. Right now, we’re having a tough time finishing.

“At the end of the day right now, we’re having a challenging time as a group finding the back of the net. We’re doing a lot of the right things — traffic, jamming pucks, going hard to the net. But we’re having a tough time making the other team pay for their mistakes. As far as our process and how we’re playing offensively and how we’re playing defensively, you’ve got to like our game.”

Many fans haven’t loved it. The Flyers heard boos Saturday night after the Stars’ empty-net goal in the third period. The Flyers dropped their fourth straight game, which marks the franchise’s first four-game losing streak in October since the 2014-15 season, when it opened the year 0-2-2.

While the Flyers, who are 2-3-1, have dictated games, the bottom line is they have to score goals. The really good teams create the chances but also finish them. It’s hard to sell to your fans that everything is fine, the process is good, when you’re outscored 10-4 in consecutive regulation losses. These same fans have seen too many slow Octobers. The Flyers are now 28-36-7 during this month in the last seven seasons.

Then again, this is not Vigneault’s first rodeo. It is his first chance at guiding the Flyers, who have taken on his system and looked much better in doing so.

And Vigneault certainly understands the process.

If Flyers fans want to trust him and take solace in something, consider some of Vigneault’s best teams and how they started.

The 2013-14 Rangers opened the season 2-6-0 and were 16-18-2 at Dec. 20 but went to the Stanley Cup Final. It was Vigneault’s first year in New York.

The 2006-07 Canucks — another first year on the job for Vigneault — started 8-10-1 but finished with 49 wins, 105 points and a playoff series victory.

The 2014-15 Rangers began 7-7-4 but ended up with 53 wins and the Presidents' Trophy (113 points).

The 2010-11 Canucks started 2-3-2 and were 10-7-3 after 20 games but won the Presidents' Trophy (117 points) and came one win away from a Stanley Cup title.

“I know our guys are disappointed but our work ethic, you know, we’ve got our work boots on here and we’re trying real hard,” Vigneault said of the Flyers. “As a coach, when your team is giving you 100 percent of what they have — and I believe that’s what we did again tonight — you’ve got to support your players, you’ve got to be behind them and trust them, and I’m very confident things are going to work out.”

Just how confident are Flyers fans? They’ve been patient long enough.

Vigneault will have to make sure, this time, their patience finally pays off.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Most frustrating loss yet gives Flyers their first 4-game skid in October since 2014-15

Most frustrating loss yet gives Flyers their first 4-game skid in October since 2014-15

BOX SCORE

The Flyers have a slogan this season that reads "all or nothing."

The Flyers did nothing with prime opportunities in a prime chance to quell an early three-game skid.

That losing streak ballooned to four Saturday night as the Flyers lost to the Stars, 4-1, at the Wells Fargo Center.

Following some lengthy travel over a 20-day span (the team was in four different countries), the Flyers (2-3-1) scored 43 seconds into Saturday's home game and could have taken the life out of struggling Dallas, which entered 1-7-1. Instead, the Flyers fizzled despite holding the Stars to five shots over the final two periods.

The Flyers hadn't lost four straight games in October since the 2014-15 season, when they opened the year 0-2-2 (see story).

• The Flyers' first period was really disappointing for a few reasons and it changed the entire complexion of the game.

After the team jumped out to its lead in the opening minute, the Flyers went on the power play two seconds later but didn't capitalize.

Seven seconds after the Stars tied the game at the 13-minute mark, Dallas committed a silly tripping penalty behind the Flyers' net. It gave the Flyers another chance to regain momentum but the man advantage came up empty.

The Flyers ended up trailing, 2-1, at first intermission. They have three first-period goals through six games — that won't get it done.

• Last season, Carter Hart was pulled in his fifth career start. He went 11-3-1 with an NHL-high 488 saves, a 2.46 goals-against average and .930 save percentage over his next 15 starts before he was pulled again.

Hart was yanked Wednesday in Edmonton after allowing four goals on 14 shots.

On Saturday, he could have been much better. He allowed three goals on 15 shots and failed to deliver timely stops like we've seen him do in the past.

Dallas' first goal came on a nice play by Roope Hintz, who beat Matt Niskanen and then scored on his own rebound. The second goal, Esa Lindell snuck in front of Niskanen on the Stars' power play and redirected a pass by Hart.

Niskanen, who has been pretty darn good so far, was not on his game Saturday.

Hart allowed a killer goal 1:24 into the third period.

Ben Bishop made 38 saves to beat the Flyers.

• The Flyers' power play finished 0 for 4.

Ivan Provorov replaced Shayne Gostisbehere on the first unit. Gostisbehere is scoreless through the first six games and will have to earn back his role.

Dallas, which was 1 for 25 on the man advantage coming into the game, went 1 for 2.

• Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny and Sean Couturier gave the Flyers the loud start that ultimately led to nothing.

• If you recall, Wayne Simmonds fought Jamie Oleksiak last season in Pittsburgh.

Oleksiak is a big dude, standing at 6-foot-7, 255 pounds.

Chris Stewart challenged Oleksiak during the opening period as the Flyers had lost momentum and an early 1-0 lead.

It was a heavyweight bout.

• A note on prospect Joel Farabee, who is off to a fast start yet again. How long will he be in Lehigh Valley if he keeps scoring?

• The Flyers are off from practice Sunday before welcoming the Golden Knights Monday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Four of their next five games then come on the road.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers