Flyers in different company at Thanksgiving after win over Blue Jackets

Flyers in different company at Thanksgiving after win over Blue Jackets

BOX SCORE

The Flyers will enjoy their Thanksgiving turkey.

At Nationwide Arena Wednesday night, the Flyers grinded out a 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets, a game that required plenty of resolve to close the door in the third period.

Alain Vigneault's club has been impressive during a busy November. The Flyers (13-7-5) have earned at least a point in 12 of 14 games this month (8-2-4). In November, only one NHL team has more points than the Flyers' 20 — the Stars with 21.

The victory was the Flyers' second over the Blue Jackets (10-10-4) this season as they improved to 6-2-2 against the Metropolitan Division.

• Give some props to the coaching staff and front office.

The Flyers have their most wins at Thanksgiving since 2010-11, when the team was 15-6-2 on Turkey Day.

In 2018-19, the Flyers were in last place on Thanksgiving with a 9-10-2 record.

In 2017-18, they were also in last place on Thanksgiving with an 8-9-5 mark.

In 2019-20, they are improved and it should be refreshing to see for fans after the Flyers went a combined 23-29-14 over their past five Novembers.

• Claude Giroux's game-winning goal in the second period was clutch. The power play was scuffling and needed to finally cash in, which it did on its fifth opportunity (see highlights).

• These kind of passes are why so many gushed about Joel Farabee's skill and hands ever since he was taken by the Flyers in the first round of the 2018 draft. The rookie winger has two assists over the last three games, good confidence boosts for the 19-year-old.

• Did James van Riemsdyk earn himself a promotion in the lineup?

He was strong against the Blue Jackets, picking up his first point in nine games on Tyler Pitlick's impressive first-period goal. JVR was also planted in front, where he's at his best, on Giroux's goal.

Given the Flyers won, the lineup very well could look the same Friday at the Wells Fargo Center. As Scott Laughton's right index finger starts to feel better and the 25-year-old forward is able to comfortably take faceoffs, the Flyers could move van Riemsdyk up to the third line.

Then again, Vigneault has liked Laughton's chemistry with Kevin Hayes on the third unit, so van Riemsdyk could stick on that fourth line a little longer.

• Flyers goaltending has been great this month.

Carter Hart is 5-2-2 with a 2.05 goals-against average, allowing two or fewer goals in seven of his nine November starts.

Brian Elliott was clutch with a 15-save third period against Columbus and is 3-0-2 with a 2.28 goals-against average in November.

At this point last season, the Flyers didn't get that production in net.

• Real positive stuff from Pitlick and Laughton, two forwards that constantly skate hard and make a difference with their effort. Against the Blue Jackets, they also provided goals.

• During the first period, Farabee took a ridiculous crosscheck to the back from Pierre-Luc Dubois as both players were just about to get to their respective benches following a shift. No penalty was called and the Flyers were justifiably unhappy.

The opening stanza, as a whole, was not great for the Flyers. After Pitlick's late equalizer, the Flyers allowed a bad goal less than a minute later when they watched Gustav Nyquist hang out behind the net.

The Flyers bounced back with a strong second period and finished things off in the third.

• The Flyers practice at 12:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving in Voorhees, New Jersey, before finishing a 16-game November with a back-to-back set. The Flyers host the Red Wings Friday (4 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and visit the Canadiens Saturday (3 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Shayne Gostisbehere could see his return to the lineup in one of those two games.

 

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

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

The Flyers have three games left in a jam-packed November.

Alain Vigneault's team has gone 7-2-4 with 18 points during the month. Only one NHL team has more points in November and that's the Stars with 21.

The Flyers (12-7-5) will look to keep the points coming Wednesday night when they visit the Blue Jackets (10-9-4).

Let's get into the essentials:

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

• James van Riemsdyk played 9:57 in Monday night's 2-1 win over the Canucks after playing only 9:06 in last Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Flames, which marked his lowest ice time during a game (non-injury related) since the 2010-11 season.

In July 2018, the winger was inked to a five-year, $35 million contract. He was signed by former general manager Ron Hextall to play a major role in improving the Flyers' goal production. Right now, the 30-year-old finds himself on the fourth line, scrapping for scoring opportunities.

The fourth-line stint likely won't last for long but van Riemsdyk is being challenged to score, especially on the power play. His strength is putting the puck in the net and when a player is struggling to provide his biggest strength, Vigneault and the Flyers have shown they'll make adjustments. Just look at Shayne Gostisbehere's situation.

JVR, who is without a point over the last eight contests, has four goals in 24 games despite being third on the Flyers in shots with 68.

No doubt in my mind JVR is working real hard, he’s trying to get his game in order. As a staff and a head coach, there’s always that fine line — players say, ‘Give me more ice time and I’ll play better,’ and I say, ‘You play better and I’ll give you more ice time.’ We’ve given him every power play, he’s got one goal so far on the power play.

We’re working with him to help him contribute more. If he contributes more, obviously he’s going to help our team. We’re all working together here to make this team, the Flyers, the best it can be and hopefully we can help JVR play better, also.

Any player, you’ve got to play the right way, you’ve got defend, you’ve got to play the full 200-foot game. JVR’s trademark is he’s a finisher, he’s a goal-scorer, that has to be a part of the repertoire and it’s been a little bit more challenging for him.

- Vigneault on Tuesday

• The Flyers' propensity for working overtime has been well-publicized.

The team has gone to the shootout seven times this month after going to the shootout only four times all of last season. Ten of the Flyers' 13 games in November have been decided by one goal and eight have gone past regulation.

“I’m aware of it and I think everybody is, but you know, those are good to be part of," Vigneault said. "I really think, as individual players and as a team, these tight games, these games have been beneficial for us — or are going to be beneficial for us moving forward here. You’ve got to be able to play in these moments and I think we’ve shown that we have and we’re getting better at it, too.”

The Flyers have scored 2.30 goals per game over their last 10 matchups. Give them credit, though, they've often controlled tempo, which has resulted in strong defense and much better goal prevention. But with all these tight, low-scoring games, are the Flyers playing with fire?

"The more you move forward, the games mean more, they’re all close games," Vigneault said. "You might as well, as a player, realize right now that every time you’re on the ice, you can dictate the outcome of a game by the right play in the first period, the wrong play in another moment. You’ve got to learn to play in these situations, thrive on them, get the best out of yourself and I see this only as a positive for our group."

• The Blue Jackets have won four of their last five games after losing seven of their previous eight. Both the Flyers and Blue Jackets rank among the bottom third of the NHL in 5-on-5 scoring, so special teams will be critical.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Morgan Frost-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
James van Riemsdyk-Michael Raffl-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

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

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

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Furious rally gives Flyers first 3-game winning streak in October since 2014-15

Furious rally gives Flyers first 3-game winning streak in October since 2014-15

BOX SCORE

The Flyers absolutely ambushed the Blue Jackets in the third period Saturday night for a 7-4 win at the Wells Fargo Center.

The team ripped off five third-period goals to storm past Columbus, giving the Flyers (5-3-1) their first three-game winning streak in October since the 2014-15 season.

Kevin Hayes scored the game-winner, while Shayne Gostisbehere, James van Riemsdyk, Michael Raffl and Travis Konecny also scored in the final stanza.

The Flyers outshot the Blue Jackets (5-4-2), 46-26.

The Flyers went 10-16-2 against the Metropolitan Division last season. They are 2-0-0 so far against divisional opponents in 2019-20.

• Late in the third period, Hayes delivered on why the Flyers wanted him so badly.

He came to Philly with a reputation for shorthanded goals and buried one on a clutch play to give the Flyers a 5-4 lead in the final six minutes of regulation.

He has three goals in his last four games, had three points Saturday and has been a terror on the PK.

• van Riemsdyk is heating up.

He went scoreless in the first seven games but was creating so many chances that the goal-scoring winger was bound to start putting the puck in the net.

After delivering two goals and an assist Saturday, van Riemsdyk has five points in his last two games.

Jakub Voracek was also slow to crack the score sheet. He was without a point through the opening four games. Since then, he has seven points (three goals, four assists) in five games.

• Brian Elliott made his third consecutive start after delivering 56 saves on 59 shots in the Flyers' previous two wins.

The 34-year-old came back to earth Saturday as he wasn't sharp. He just looked slow to react and on the third goal, which put the Blue Jackets ahead late in the second period, Elliott failed to corral a rebound on multiple tries.

However, he entered with a 1.69 goals-against average in his previous three starts. The Flyers should be happy with Elliott thus far.

Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo, who was 4-0-1 in his last five games, couldn't hold Columbus' advantage.

• Third-line winger Scott Laughton exited the game a little over seven minutes into the second period with an injury and did not return.

The Flyers survived a scare with Raffl. Losing Laughton for a period of time is a blow. He can play center or winger in the bottom six, scored a career-high 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) last season and is one of the team's best penalty-killers.

With Laughton sidelined, Tyler Pitlick will insert the lineup. He plays a similar role to Laughton's and is the Flyers' only extra forward. If the team calls up a forward, Carsen Twarynski, German Rubtsov and Andy Andreoff would be likely candidates (see story).

• The Flyers' penalty kill went 5 for 5 and is now 24 for 29 on the season.

Through nine games last season, the PK was 22 for 32, second worst in the league at 68.8 percent.

• Might we see Samuel Morin make his season debut Sunday? Robert Hagg has been durable but struggled Saturday and was a minus-3.

With Sunday's game being the second of a back-to-back set, the Flyers could look to get Morin game action.

• Flyers fans were in the Halloween spirit.

• The Flyers are playing their second of 17 back-to-back sets this season. They hit the road to play the Islanders Sunday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Carter Hart will start for the Flyers. The 21-year-old goalie has allowed seven goals on 29 shots faced in his last two games after making 75 saves on 80 shots over his first three outings.

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