Flyers

'You know that word that starts with B?' — Alain Vigneault makes his point after frustrating Flyers loss

'You know that word that starts with B?' — Alain Vigneault makes his point after frustrating Flyers loss

Every so often, ever since training camp in mid-September, Alain Vigneault will remind everyone he wasn't here last year or the years prior.

He'll do so amicably when questions arise about a past season or trend with the club he now coaches. Vigneault likes to focus on the present and what's ahead.

After all, he doesn't want to act as if he's openly criticizing what happened before him. 

"It's the start of a new era, a new group," he said Sept. 13, Day 1 of training camp.

If he didn't know, the type of loss the Flyers suffered Thursday night has become a recurring theme in recent years, the kind that drives the fan base up a wall. One night, the Flyers will look like world-beaters against the NHL's elite. Another night, they'll lose a game that had victory written all over it, leaving fans scratching their heads.

Except, Flyers fans are no longer dumbfounded by those types of losses because, quite frankly, their team has tended to suffer them predictably.

On Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers lost, 4-1, to the Canadiens, who are on the outside looking in at the playoff picture and had lost nine of their previous 11 games. What made the defeat particularly maddening was that the Flyers had just made a significant statement by beating the league's three best teams — the Capitals, Bruins and Blues — in the past four games.

The win over defending champion St. Louis came Wednesday night on the road. So on Thursday night, the Flyers were facing the second game of a back-to-back set, coming off the high of beating the champs in their building, and playing without either of their regular two goalies (see observations).

When "emotional letdown" was brought up at his postgame press conference, Vigneault wouldn't even tiptoe the line.

“You know that word that starts with B?" Vigneault asked.

Begins with bull and ends in ... ?

"I mean, these are big games," Vigneault said. "There’s almost nothing separating teams. And tonight, it’s a couple plays. I understand emotionally, but points are the same. This game was worth two. Last game was worth two. You’ve got to get up for it, you’ve got to get yourself ready, it’s going to be a battle.

"You do know the word I’m talking about, right?”

Sure do.

And his Flyers know those losses can't become a theme.

Vigneault will call out that bulls--t if he sees it.

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

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

The Flyers are ready to audition some new faces with 20 games to go in their playoff push.

With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, the Flyers (35-20-7) host the Sharks (26-32-4) Tuesday.

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

• Nate Thompson has gotten used to this. He has been traded in February 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The 35-year-old center still appreciated the phone calls from his new teammates. Thompson, who the Flyers acquired Monday in a trade with the Canadiens, said he heard from Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes last night.

"That was really nice," Thompson said Tuesday after morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center. "Whenever guys reach out to you and make you feel welcomed, it’s always nice to hear."

Thompson and fellow trade acquisition Derek Grant will make their Flyers debuts tonight.

Grant, a 29-year-old center with positional versatility and defensive qualities, already has a career-high 14 goals. Coming from the Ducks, Grant can cap his best NHL season yet by helping the Flyers make the playoffs.

“It’s always fun," he said. "I didn’t know anyone really here. I met [Thompson] at the hotel this morning, so we came over together. Everyone has been great, it’s always a little easier when you can get into a game right away and get to know guys a little quicker that way.”

Right now, the Flyers will slide Thompson into their fourth-line center role and he'll help on the penalty kill. Grant will play third-line center between James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Pitlick, while also contributing to the PK.

Assistant coach Ian Laperriere and the Flyers got both players acclimated with film work before morning skate.

“All done, they got in here this morning, they sat with Lappy," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "We’ve got a system video that we show all new players, whether they’re guys from Lehigh Valley or in this case guys from other teams, about our priorities and how we do certain things. It went extremely well, we had a team video session, they were very comfortable there.

"I expect them to be excited, motivated and expect them to help us get their first win with us.”

• The Flyers sit in third place of the Metropolitan Division, a point ahead of the Islanders and Blue Jackets, and three points up on the Hurricanes.

Tuesday marks a big night for the race as New York, Columbus and Carolina are all in action. With a victory, the Flyers can draw within one point of the second-place Penguins.

The Flyers hold an 82.3 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Hockey-Reference.com.

• The Sharks have lost four straight games and own a minus-31 goal differential on the road.

Since Jan. 8, the Flyers are 13-5-1 with an NHL-high 68 goals.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk-Derek Grant-Tyler Pitlick
Michael Raffl-Nate Thompson-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg-Justin Braun

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Flyers have good laughs, good sense on Shayne Gostisbehere trade rumors

Flyers have good laughs, good sense on Shayne Gostisbehere trade rumors

When it came to Shayne Gostisbehere, Chuck Fletcher had a good sense of humor at Monday's NHL trade deadline.

The general manager also had good overall sense.

No, the Flyers weren't looking to shop the defenseman, nor should they have been as the trade market unfolded.

The Twittersphere probably suggested otherwise.

"That’s been the interesting one," Fletcher said of Gostisbehere at Flyers Skate Zone. "I’ve been here a year. I can’t say I'm always on social media but I’m amazed at how often I’m trading him."

The Flyers didn't move Gostisbehere and they weren't expected to. Is he a nice trade chip? Of course, he has shown how productive he can be when he's making plays along the blue line, he's not far removed from a career 65-point year in 2017-18, he's only 26 years old and he's under contract for the next three seasons at a comfortable $4.5 million cap hit.

But you don't just play your chips to play your chips. And Fletcher will have this chip moving forward, when it might be more playable. Gostisbehere's trade stock was far from its peak Monday. He has missed 18 of the Flyers' last 19 games because of a left knee injury and is enduring his worst NHL season as he's projected to finish with career lows in goals (seven) and points (18).

Even if the Flyers weren't opposed to moving Gostisbehere, why do it now?

"We were certainly not looking to move him," Fletcher said. "Teams have called me on him. Nothing really makes sense right now to me to move one of our seven D unless we’re getting a really great impact player back in some area. Those types of trades usually don’t happen right now."

A thought process could be that the Flyers possess young depth on defense and quality blue-line prospects in the system, like Egor Zamula, Cam York and Wyatt Kalynuk, to name a few. If the team wanted to drastically improve an area of need with a splash, shedding from defense would have been a route to pursue. It wasn't happening, or at least not now at this deadline.

After a conditioning loan to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley last weekend, Gostisbehere is back with the Flyers, who are getting healthier at a position of strength. Fletcher wasn't going to mess with that.

"I like Shayne," Fletcher said. "He’s gone through a few weeks, probably over a month now with some knee issues. He’s cleaned it up. He skated really well this weekend. Right now, we are carrying seven D. He’s one of them. He’s a guy that I think can still contribute. He can play on the power play.

"Frankly, I think Shayne can get back to where he was and help us. If he can take a step and get that confidence back offensively, that would be a big boost to our team."

And it would fuel the conversation everywhere. Especially on social media.

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