Flyers Gameday: 5/10/21 vs. NJ: Phantoms Update
GAME 56: FLYERS vs. DEVILS
Playing their final game of the 2020-21 saeason, Alain Vigneault's Philadelphia Flyers (24-23-8)
are home on Monday to take Lindy Ruff's New Jersey Devils (19-23-7) at the Wells Fargo Center on Military Appreciation Night. The Flyers annual team awards will be presented before the game. Game time is 7 p.m. EDT. The game will be televised on NBCSP.
The Flyers are 3-4-0 against the Devils in the season series this season. A week ago, the Flyers played four straight games against the Devils, winning the first one via shootout in comeback fashion. and then losing the next three in regulation. New Jersey snapped a 10-game winless streak (0-9-1) at the Flyers' expense in the second game.
With the 2021-22 NHL regular season slated to start in late October -- just a couple weeks behind the usual early October start -- tonight's game will be the last for the Flyers (excluding the 2021-22 preseason) for the next five-plus months. It could be the final game as a Flyer for multiple players on the roster. Just how many remains to be seen.
There are only two ways that an NHL team can win its final game before the offseason. One is to win the Stanley Cup. The other is the cold comfort of winning the final regular season game while failing to qualify for the playoffs. The only "prize" if the Flyers win tonight will be to finish above "hockey .500" in points percentage; not much of an inspirational goal.
On Saturday, a strong goaltending performance from Alex Lyon (38 saves) and an early third period goal by Scott Laughton got the Flyers to within a minute of shutting out a woefully depleted (due to injuries and COVID-19 protocol cases) Washington Capitals. It wasn't to be, and the Flyers went on to lose in overtime, 2-1.
Shayne Gostisbehere has completed the two-game suspension the NHL imposed for cross-checking/pushing Pittsburgh defenseman Mark Friedman after the ex-Flyer scored an empty net goal in last Tuesday's game at the Wells Fargo Center. Gostisbehere is eligible to return for the season finale tonight.
Brian Elliott will get the start in goal for the finale. Lyon will be the backup.
Head-to-head against New Jersey this season, Jakub Voracek (0g, 9a) leads the team in scoring across the seven games played to date. Claude Giroux (4g, 3a) and Sean Couturier (4g, 1a in 5 GP) share the team lead in goals. As with Giroux, James van Riemsdyk (2g, 5a) has posted seven points against the Devils this season.
For the Flyers, Joel Farabee needs a two-goal game to hit the 20-goal mark for the season. Oskar Lindblom needs a two-goal game to reach double-digit goals (all at even strength, unless he were to unexpectedly get power play time and score one). Nolan Patrick has been stuck on nine points for the season since April 27 and at four goals since March 27.
The Flyers will hold a final morning skate in Voorhees today. Vigneault will go over the lineup with the media at 4:30 p.m. EDT.
After beating the Flyers three times in a row in the first-ever four-game set in the regular season histories of either franchise, the Devils have earned splits at home with the Boston Bruins (3-0 loss, 4-3 overtime win) and on the road with the New York Islanders (2-1 win, 5-1 loss).
Overall, the Devils have been a much better road team (12-11-4) than they've been on home iice (7-12-3) this season.
Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood is 4-0-1 against the Flyers this season. Promising rookie forward Yegor Sharangovich was a major thorn in the Flyers' side in the recent four-game set and has five goals and seven points against Philadelphia in the season series this year. Pavel Zacha (4g, 3a) has also posted seven points versus the Flyers in 2020-21. Zacha, who leads the Devils in overall scoring with 34 points (16g, 18a) has three goals over the team's last three games.
Speedy and agitating forward Miles Wood leads the Devils with 17 goals this season. His availability for the finale is uncertain, as he is dealing with an undisclosed injury.
Projected lineups (will be updated)
FLYERS (Saturday lineup)
28 Claude Giroux -14 Sean Couturier - 11 Travis Konecny
86 Joel Farabee - 13 Kevin Hayes - 93 Jakub Voracek
25 James van Riemsdyk - 21 Scott Laughton - 62 Nicolas Aube-Kubel
23 Oskar Lindblom - 19 Nolan Patrick - 57 Wade Allison
9 Ivan Provorov - 6 Travis Sanheim
45 Cam York - 61 Justin Braun
53 Shayne Gostisbehere - 5 Phil Myers
37 Brian Elliott
[34 Alex Lyon]
PP1: Giroux, Couturier, Allison, Voracek, Gostisbehere
PP2: Hayes, Farabee, JVR, Konecny, Provorov
Scratches: 8 Robert Hägg (healthy), 55 Samuel Morin (healthy), 59 Jackson Cates (healthy), 79 Carter Hart (MCL sprain, out for the remainder of the season).
Injured reserve: 48 Morgan Frost (shoulder surgery), 58 Tanner Laczynski (hip surgery).
COVID-19 protocol: None.
59 Janne Kuokkanen - 86 Jack Hughes - 17 Yegor Sharangovich
37 Pavel Zacha - 13 Nico Hischier - 63 Jesper Bratt
44 Miles Wood - 20 Michael McLeod - 14 Nathan Bastian
25 Nolan Foote - 90 Jesper Boqvist - 11 Andreas Johnsson
22 Ryan Murray - 28 Damon Severson
8 Will Butcher - 71 Jonas Siegenthaler
88 Kevin Bahl - 7 Matt Tennyson
41 Scott Wedgewood
[47 Aaron Dell]
PP1: Hischier, Zacha, Hughes, Bratt, Butcher
PP2: Kuokkanen, Sharangovich, Wood (?), Johnsson, Severson
Scratches and injuries:5 Connor Carrick (healthy), 12 Tyce Thompson (healthy), 23 Mikhail Maltsev (lower-body injury), 24 Ty Smith (upper body), 39 Nick Merkley (healthy), 29 Mackenzie Blackwood (healthy).
COVID-19 protocol: 76 P.K. Subban.
Phantoms Defeated WB/S Pens
Fourth-line Phantoms forward Brennan Saulnier had an afternoon he'll remember for the rest of his life as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 6-2, at the PPL Center on Sunday afternoon.
The 27-year-old Saulnier, who made his AHL debut this season after two-plus seasons in the ECHL and a four-year collegiate career at Alabama-Huntsville, compiled a natural hat trick in the first period and later had a lopsided third period fight in defense of teammate Zayde Wisdom. Sunday's game was Saulnier's 13th as a Phantom.
Sunday's game was also a memorable one for 35-year-old veteran Chris Mueller. Playing his 800th career American Hockey League game (in addition to 53 NHL games), Mueller tallied a pair of power play goals.
Rookie power forward Wisdom recorded three assists on Sunday; all bonafide primary assists in which he made good plays. Fourth-liner Tanner MacMaster rounded out the scoring for the Phantoms. Zane McIntyre stopped 29 of 30 shots to earn the win.
The Phantoms (17-7-4) have three games remaining on their schedule this season: Wednesday iMay 12 in Newark against the Binghamton Devils, Sat. May 15 at home against WB/S, and the afternoon of May 16 (3 p.m. EDT) at home against Binghamton.