James van Riemsdyk

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

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

The Flyers have been drastically better at home this season compared to 2018-19, when they went 19-18-4 in Philly for their fewest home wins since 2006-07.

So far in 2019-20, they're 11-2-4 at home with the NHL's third-fewest regulation losses.

The Flyers (18-11-5) hope to enjoy more home cooking Thursday as they host the Sabres (16-12-7).

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

• James van Riemsdyk is starting to warm up and multiple signs point to more production tonight against the Sabres.

Over the Flyers' last 10 games, van Riemsdyk is tied with Sean Couturier for the team lead in points at eight. The goal-scoring winger has four markers and four assists during that stretch after going scoreless in his previous eight games.

In the Flyers' 4-1 win Tuesday over the Ducks, van Riemsdyk played his third-most minutes (18:17) of the season, as head coach Alain Vigneault continues to increase his ice time.

On top of that, van Riemsdyk owns 15 career goals against Buffalo (tied for his second most against any NHL team) and the Sabres have the league's fourth-worst penalty kill (75.5 percent).

This sure looks like a game for van Riemsdyk to do some damage.

• Another player the Flyers have needed more offensive production from has started to give it to them.

Since his three-game benching, Shayne Gostisbehere has put up four goals, an assist and a plus-3 mark. His four tallies are tied with John Carlson for most goals by NHL defensemen since Nov. 29.

Good signs from van Riemsdyk and Gostisbehere but the Flyers will want more, especially on the power play.

• The focal point of the Flyers' defensive strategy: Holding Jack Eichel in check.

Buffalo's 23-year-old center is on a 17-game point streak in which he has recorded 16 goals, 15 assists and a plus-17 rating.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk-Kevin Hayes-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
David Kase-Morgan Frost-Jakub Voracek
Andy Andreoff-Mikhail Vorobyev-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun
Shayne Gostisbehere-Philippe Myers

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Injuries to Scott Laughton, Tyler Pitlick, a lopsided fight for Joel Farabee and Flyers lose to Wild

Injuries to Scott Laughton, Tyler Pitlick, a lopsided fight for Joel Farabee and Flyers lose to Wild

BOX SCORE

With a 4-1 defeat to the Wild, the Flyers have two straight losses and they lost two more players in the process.

Alain Vigneault's team stomached a discouraging night Saturday at Xcel Energy Center, suffering consecutive losses in regulation for the first time since Oct. 27-29.

The Flyers (17-10-5) have scored just one goal in three of their last four games, resulting in three regulation losses. In their previous 17 games, the Flyers lost in regulation only twice.

The Wild (16-12-5) improved to 9-1-3 at home and 12-3-4 overall since Nov. 5.

• The Flyers entered the game without forwards Oskar Lindblom (Ewing's sarcoma diagnosis), Travis Konecny (concussion), Michael Raffl (broken right pinkie finger) and Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder).

Their only extra healthy player was defenseman Robert Hagg.

News on the health front got worse during the action as forwards Scott Laughton and Tyler Pitlick left the game with undisclosed injuries and did not return.

Some more roster maneuvering could be on the way as early as Sunday morning. The Flyers have no time to rest up.

• Flyers defensemen were not sharp.

Philippe Myers had a bad turnover on Zach Parise's first-period goal. Ivan Provorov had the same in the second period, which led to Eric Staal's second goal of the night to give the Wild a 3-1 lead.

Travis Sanheim and Justin Braun were also a step behind and not in good position on Staal's first goal, which turned out to be the game-winner during the opening stanza.

Just one of those games in which the Flyers were off from top to bottom.

• As a result, Carter Hart was sprawling all over the place, trying to save the Flyers. He finished with 24 stops on 27 shots.

• Joel Farabee dropped the gloves with Marcus Foligno and it was a rough matchup for the 19-year-old.

• James van Riemsdyk got the Flyers on the board 1:34 into the game. However, the lead didn't last long and the Flyers finished with just 18 shots.

• The Flyers' power play went 0 for 3 and is 6 for its last 55 (10.9 percent).

• Lindblom's jersey hung symbolically in the team's dressing room. The Flyers are rallying behind their 23-year-old brother and teammate as he starts his fight against cancer (see story).

• The Flyers are right back at it Sunday when they visit the Jets (5 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).

 

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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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