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Alain Vigneault provides the entertainment after Flyers' ugly show

Alain Vigneault provides the entertainment after Flyers' ugly show

A solid reimbursement for Flyers fans who paid to attend the team's 5-0 loss to the Devils would have been a free pass to Alain Vigneault's postgame press conference.

It stood as the lone entertainment value Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

For as fun and dominant as the Flyers have looked at home in 2019-20, they tossed up a boo-inducing dud against the last-place team in their division.

Bad game, bad timing for Vigneault's playoff-pursuing bunch.

Vigneault, a coach with a justified self-confidence and postseason pedigree, wasn't about to lose anything at the podium.

After all, he wanted this challenge. He wanted Philly. He wanted the fans. And he wanted the Flyers, despite the team's problematic 2018-19 season.

Thursday night's performance didn't end the Flyers' 2019-20 season. The team has 28 games remaining, is projected to finish with around 98 to 99 points and entered Thursday holding a 61.3 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Hockey-Reference.com.

But a performance like the 5-0 loss to the Devils would make most fans second-guess the direction.

When Vigneault was asked if his Flyers were built to not only make the playoffs, but also make noise against one of the better teams in a seven-game series, he hardly flinched.

That's a good question. The important question for me is getting my team ready for Washington this next game. That's what we need to do. I will reaffirm that we are getting in, we're going to get into the playoffs. Once we're there, we'll deal with what you're asking me. But first, we’ve got to get there. To get there, we have to stay in the moment. We’ve got to focus on Washington.

On Saturday, the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals are the Flyers' next matchup, which opens a tough stretch of seven straight games against the NHL's top 13 teams.

Vigneault was ready to put the New Jersey game behind him. He could even somewhat joke about it. Against the Devils, the Flyers' power play went 0 for 4 with six shots, while New Jersey's penalty kill scored a goal and finished with four shots.

“I should have denied," Vigneault quipped about the man advantage. "Our power play was terrible. I don't know what else to tell you. Every time we were on the power play, they were having chances toward our net. So, we should have denied it after the first one. I should have figured it out, I didn’t. I will next time.”

A coach who doesn't sugarcoat things, Vigneault didn't question his team's focus or preparation.

“I do believe that our players were ready to play," he said. "In an 82-game schedule, there are no excuses. But some nights you're going to get games like this. We got a bad one tonight. And what we need to do is go home, get some sleep, come to work [Friday], have a good practice and get ready for one of the top teams in the league.”

Vigneault won Thursday night with his postgame performance. How the Flyers answer this loss on the ice will test his prediction and postseason pedigree.

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Flyers lay a huge egg with loss to Devils, can only hope it doesn't haunt them in NHL playoff race

Flyers lay a huge egg with loss to Devils, can only hope it doesn't haunt them in NHL playoff race

BOX SCORE

This one might haunt the Flyers.

They can only hope they got it out of their system before it’s too late.

Fighting a deep and busy playoff race in which every game counts, the Flyers fell flat on their face for a troubling 5-0 loss Thursday night to the Devils at the Wells Fargo Center.

After going 7-2-1 in their previous 10 games, the Flyers (29-18-7) suffered a brutal clunker against the fourth-worst team in the NHL. They came into the game clinging to the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot by two points (see standings).

The Flyers have five regulation losses to the NHL's bottom eight clubs. Meanwhile, they’re 5-1-2 against the Bruins, Capitals, Blues and Penguins, the league’s top four teams entering Thursday’s action.

Seen this movie before?

Before coming to Philly, the Devils (19-24-10) had lost nine of their last 12 games.

• The Flyers had a terrible start and it snowballed into a mess.

They lacked structure and discipline from the onset, allowing a goal 13 seconds into the game.

New Jersey was allowing the NHL’s second-most goals per game at 3.54 but found a way to blank the Flyers, who were shut out for only the second time.

Just an ugly, ill-timed loss for the Flyers, who now have seven straight games against the NHL’s top 13 teams.

• Jakub Voracek missed a huge opportunity on a delayed penalty when he tried slamming home a puck on the doorstep with an empty net. He clanged it off the post and the Flyers ended up not scoring on the power play as they were trailing 2-0 in the middle period.

It was that kind of night. The Flyers weren’t good and hurt themselves to compound the problem.

The Flyers' power play was a disaster, going 0 for 4. It had six shots, while the Devils' penalty kill had four shots. 

• Brian Elliott was hung out to dry by the Flyers, who gave up numerous shorthanded scoring chances, one of which resulted in a goal that handed New Jersey a 3-0 lead only 1:10 into the third period.

The wheels then completely fell off when Miles Wood scored a breakaway goal just over three minutes later, sending Elliott to the showers after four goals on 17 shots.

Elliott was 4-0-1 with a 1.58 goals-against average in Carter Hart’s absence before this nightmare.

Hart could be in line to return Saturday from an abdominal strain injury.

• Since his rookie year as a 19-year-old in 2016-17, Ivan Provorov has not missed a game as he played his 300th consecutive contest Thursday night.

Over that span, Provorov has led the Flyers in ice time with just under 24 minutes per game.

“I grew up playing a lot at home,” Provorov said after morning skate. “When I was in Wilkes-Barre, we had five [defensemen] all year. I played a lot my rookie season in the USHL, and the same thing when I got to Brandon [in the WHL]. Kind of my whole life I’ve played a lot. … It’s what I love doing.”

Only one NHL defenseman has ever played more games in succession with the same team to start their career — Dan Girardi at 330 for the Rangers from 2007 to 2011.

• Here’s the latest on 21-year-old center Nolan Patrick, who took part in morning skate Thursday (see story). Patrick has not played this season because of a migraine disorder.

• The Flyers had a few lineup changes (see story).

• Former Flyer Wayne Simmonds was back in the house. The 31-year-old power forward is on a one-year, $5 million deal with the Devils.

• The Flyers practice Friday at noon in Voorhees, New Jersey, before traveling to Washington, D.C., to take on the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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

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

As they look to keep rolling, the Flyers will look different Thursday night.

After going 7-2-1 in their previous 10 games, the Flyers (29-17-7) welcome the Devils (18-24-10) Thursday night.

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

• The flu has cooled off Joel Farabee.

The 19-year-old rookie, who has six points (four goals, two assists) in his last six games, will miss tonight's game. Farabee didn't practice Wednesday and was still too sick when he woke up Thursday.

His absence is not easy to fill as Farabee has been playing his best hockey, especially alongside Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek.

The Flyers on Thursday morning called up Andy Andreoff. He'll join the fourth line and Michael Raffl will climb to the second line. The 31-year-old Raffl knows Couturier and Voracek well.

• Shayne Gostisbehere is back.

The defenseman returns after missing 10 games because of arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

Robert Hagg is the odd man out on defense, despite a real positive stretch through 16 games in which he put up six points and a plus-11 mark.

Haggs has been playing well. I talked to him this morning, not happy with not playing, I expect him not to be happy about it. But Shayne’s ready to go and I want to get him in.

Sometimes, even though a guy is playing well, you’ve got to look at the big picture. I’m looking at the big picture right now and Shayne has been out a while and this is a good game to put him back in.

- Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault

• The Flyers are 9-2-4 against the Metropolitan Division after going 10-16-2 against divisional opponents last season.

Projected lineup

Forwards

James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Tyler Pitlick
Andy Andreoff-Connor Bunnaman-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Defensemen

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

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Alex Lyon

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