The Philadelphia Flyers will look to build a three-game points streak to close out a difficult homestand when they host the Boston Bruins on Saturday.
After defeating the Calgary Flames 2-1 in overtime, the Flyers fell 4-3 in a shootout Thursday to the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
Claude Giroux forced overtime, scoring the tying goal with 8.1 seconds remaining.
The streak of challenging opponents continues with the Bruins coming to town.
The joy of two strong home performances was subdued somewhat when the Flyers learned that defenseman Ryan Ellis will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a lower-body injury. Kevin Hayes returned from a lengthy absence following abdominal surgery to score a goal against the Flames. Hayes was a late scratch Thursday and is questionable to face the Bruins.
Regardless of who is in the lineup, the Flyers will need increased production from the power play. Philadelphia has converted just four of its last 40.
“At the end of the day, it’s my call. I’m the one that decides to put which personnel on the ice, whether it be on the power play and penalty killing,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. “So when it’s not working, like right now our power play is struggling, it’s (my fault). I’m the big guy, I’m the guy in charge of it. And I’ve got to find ways to make sure that power play works.”
The Bruins will be searching for their third consecutive win. But in an odd scheduling quirk, they haven’t played since Sunday.
In their most recent game, the Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Charlie Coyle scored two of the Bruins’ four goals in the third period. Improving goaltender Jeremy Swayman stopped 27 shots.
“I’ll take more of those. Sometimes you get a little lucky,” Coyle said. “You try to play the right way, and sometimes you get bounces going your way.”
With former starter Tuukka Rask currently a free agent and still recovering from hip surgery, Swayman has won the starting job with Linus Ullmark serving as the backup.
Swayman has performed at a high level in the early part of the season.
“He’s been a very good goaltender for us and it’s a good competition,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Swayman. “Right now, he’s a little bit ahead of Ullmark, but it’s so early in the year that that needle has swung a little bit both ways.”
The Bruins will likely receive a boost to the lineup with the return of Mike Reilly, who has been scratched the last two games.
“I told Mike that it wouldn’t be long-term up there (in the press box),” Cassidy said. “Now it all depends on how our team responds, but he’s a part of our D corps and we need to play well. This was one way to send a message and stick with it, because I thought the group was good on Saturday. But it’s not a long-term thing.”
–Field Level Media