Minnesota Wild

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 Wild: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Wild: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The Flyers will be playing for more than just two points Saturday night.

They'll be playing for Oskar Lindblom, their teammate who was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. The news was announced Friday and has been followed by an outpouring of support for the 23-year-old (see story).

As they back Lindblom, the Flyers will try to move forward. Since the start of November, they've done a pretty good job of not leaving games empty-handed. The Flyers have earned at least a point in 16 of their last 20 contests, going 12-4-4.

On Saturday, the Flyers (17-9-5) will try to get back into the points column when they visit the Wild (15-12-5).

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

Let's get into the essentials:

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

• An example of how consistent the Flyers have been is that they haven't lost consecutive games in regulation since Oct. 27-29. They'll try to avoid doing so Saturday night after dropping to the Avalanche, 3-1, Wednesday night.

With head coach Alain Vigneault's constant emphasis on structure and possession, the Flyers have given themselves a chance most nights.

A positive for Vigneault and company heading into the matchup with the Wild: The Flyers are tied for second in the NHL with the fewest shots allowed per game (28.8), while Minnesota puts up the second-fewest shots per game (28.6).

The Flyers have a good chance to play on their terms tonight.

• Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr are back in their old stomping grounds.

Fletcher was the GM of the Wild from 2009 to 2018 and Flahr was his AGM from 2010 to 2018.

Fletcher's challenge in Philadelphia was similar to the one he faced in Minnesota and here's how he fared (see story).

• The Wild have played the fewest home games in the NHL (12) and the most on the road (20). Minnesota is 8-1-3 at home and 11-3-4 overall since Nov. 5 following a 4-9-1 start.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Morgan Frost-Tyler Pitlick
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
David Kase-Mikhail Vorobyev-Chris Stewart

Defensemen

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

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Flyers 5, Wild 4: Right back in win column thanks to another come-from-behind push

Flyers 5, Wild 4: Right back in win column thanks to another come-from-behind push

BOX SCORE

The Flyers have the Minnesota Wild figured out. Just spot them a two-goal lead.

The Flyers swept their season series with Minnesota by beating the Wild, 5-4, Tuesday night after trailing, 3-1, through the opening 20 minutes.

In their game at the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 14, the Wild jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the Flyers stormed back to win, 7-4.

James van Riemsdyk scored twice, finishing with five goals against the Wild this season.   

Here are my observations from the game at Xcel Energy Center:

• Once again, the Flyers were victimized by some horrendous officiating. A night after a potential goal was blown dead, defenseman Robert Hagg was whistled for a high-sticking double minor that he didn’t commit. Why the officials didn’t utilize replay to confirm their decision is baffling, but to force the Flyers to kill a four-minute PP down 3-1 could have been devastating.

• I thought Justin Bailey should have made his Flyers debut against Pittsburgh, but after watching Mikhail Vorobyev, I guess interim head coach Scott Gordon figured he had nothing to lose with Bailey as Vorobyev had reverted back to not skating.

As for Bailey, he was eight seconds into his first shift when the Flyers connected on their first goal. I liked how Bailey drove hard to the net, drawing the attention of the Wild defense, allowing the shot to deflect off a defenseman. One thing you notice about Bailey is that he doesn’t wait for things to happen. 

• When Carter Hart faced the Wild last month at the WFC, he alluded to Minnesota trying to run him into the net and it took that same approach Tuesday, bearing down on Anthony Stolarz. If you were watching the game on your TV, it was difficult to see precisely where the puck was in and around the crease because of a heavy flow of traffic as the Wild’s bigger forwards tried to Paul Bunyan their way through the Flyers' smaller defensemen on their way to the net.

• For so much of this season, the ineffective power play would drag this Flyers team down and take its spirits with it. Now it seems the Flyers are gaining strength and confidence from their power play. Van Riemsdyk’s 3-2 PP goal came at just the right time and gave the Flyers a much-needed boost, allowing them to eventually tie the game after two periods.

JVR added his second PP goal, which proved to be the game-winner. That power play now has goals in six of the last seven games with a 44 percent rate of success.

• Have you noticed when Travis Sanheim asserts himself in the offensive end, good things usually happen and rarely does he make a bad pinch or decision to jump in the play? Sanheim drove hard to the net, leading to Sean Couturier’s 3-3 goal. In 57 games this season, Sanheim has already doubled his point total from his rookie season with 20 points in 57 games after managing just 10 points in 49 games last year. Sanheim could be a 50-point contributor if he was a mainstay on the power play.

• I don’t how much longer Gordon can go without sticking with the Claude Giroux-Couturier-Jakub Voracek line from start to finish. The JVR-Giroux-Travis Konecny combo has really fizzled over the last six games and I find it playing defense during much of its shift and unable to create anything offensively.

Giroux and Couturier scored game-tying goals with Voracek unselfishly leaving the puck for Giroux, who has a much more lethal shot.

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