The Philadelphia Flyers are 1-2-1 in outdoor games. They’ll look to improve upon that versus the Boston Bruins in Lake Tahoe.
Outdoor hockey is a magical spectacle. From the sweaters worn to the venue itself, it’s a perfect setting. Every game is critical in this abbreviated season. The Philadelphia Flyers are hoping to get into the win column against the Boston Bruins in Lake Tahoe. An outdoor rink magnifies a crucial game against their biggest rival in 2020-2021.
Since 2010, outdoor contests have mostly broken the hearts of Flyers fans. Overall, Philadelphia is 1-2-1. The last time they played under these circumstances, the Flyers were victorious in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Claude Giroux scored the overtime game-winner, sending Philadelphia into a frenzy at Lincoln Financial Field. Could the Flyers regain that magical feeling once again this Sunday?
Coincidentally, Philadelphia faced the Bruins in 2010 at Fenway Park. Michael Leighton went head-to-head against Tim Thomas. Overtime was needed to settle the score. The Flyers led early in the second period off the stick of Danny Syvret. Mark Recchi haunted Philadelphia, tying the game late in the third period on the powerplay, forcing overtime. In under two minutes, Marco Sturm scored the game-winner, defeating the Flyers 2-1.
The bad luck continues…
Next up were the New York Rangers in 2012 at Citizens Bank Park. In the first outdoor game hosted by Philadelphia, Sergei Bobrovsky went head-to-head against Henrik Lundqvist. Again, the Flyers led, this time by two, due to Giroux and Brayden Schenn. Mike Rupp accounted for two Rangers goals, both set up by Brandon Prust and John Mitchell. In the end, New York held on as Daniel Briere couldn’t beat Lundqvist on a penalty shot, sealing the game after Brad Richard scored the game-winner.
Heartbreak at Heinz
Finally, the last stop at the Heartbreak Hotel featured a loss to the Penguins in 2017 at Heinz Field. Michael Neuvirth went head-to-head against Matt Murray. Pittsburgh led throughout the entire game, opening with a two-goal lead from Sidney Crosby and Nick Bonino. Jakub Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere scored both goals for Philadelphia, but it was not enough. The Penguins won in regulation, 4-2.
The Flyers finally triumph
As previously mentioned, the Flyers got their redemption against Pittsburgh in 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field. Travis Konecny chirped away at the opposition, getting into the Penguins’ head. Pittsburgh dictated the pace of play, but Philadelphia remained resilient. Voracek and James van Riemsdyk tied the game with twenty seconds left to spare. Nolan Patrick and Travis Sanheim created a magnificent scoring opportunity in overtime for Giroux, who scored the game-winner in walk-off fashion.
Flyers vets have been here before
Giroux is the only player to participate in every outdoor game for the Flyers. He flanked van Riemsdyk, who leads Philadelphia in scoring this season, in most of those games. Voracek and Sean Couturier joined Giroux in three of those four previous outdoor contests as well. This veteran core wants to help correct the 1-2-1 record more than ever. Only Giroux and van Riemsdyk experienced an outdoor loss to Boston on the current roster.
Sixteen current Flyers players participated in the 4-3 victory at Lincoln Financial Field versus the Penguins. Alain Vigneault has yet to coach Philadelphia in an outdoor contest. Under the management of Chuck Fletcher, the Flyers are 1-0-0 outdoor. Brian Elliott, who currently is the number two goaltender to Carter Hart, claims the only outdoor victory in Philadelphia’s history. Against the Bruins in 2020-2021, Elliott has had the best performance in the net for the Flyers.
A Neutral Site
Lake Tahoe presents a neutral site for an outdoor game. It will be the first time in history that Philadelphia participates in an outdoor game at a neutral location. During the current state of hockey within a pandemic, playing games at home has become a privilege. Not long ago, a neutral venue was the norm.
History has not treated the Flyers particularly well outdoors versus the Bruins. More importantly, Boston has consistently defeated Philadelphia throughout 2020-2021. Home-ice advantage disappears for both teams out in Lake Tahoe. On neutral ice, could the Flyers finally solve the Bruins for the first time this season?
The last time the Flyers played on neutral ice during regular season play was in last years’ season-opening win over Chicago in Prague.
The last time these two teams challenged one another on neutral ice, Philadelphia was victorious. On August 2nd, 2020, in Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena, the Flyers routed Boston, 4-1. Hart earned the win as Scott Laughton, Philippe Myers, Michael Raffl, and Nate Thompson broke through against Jaroslav Halak. As subtle as it seems, neutral ice could work in favor of Philadelphia.
Flyers face some tough challenges
In three of four games this season versus Boston, the Flyers have lost by a goal. Two of those losses came in overtime, and the bottom dropped out most recently in less than thirty seconds during the third period. That is the epitome of heartbreak.
Philadelphia has seven players actively on the COVID-19 protocol list (Giroux, Voracek, Konecny, Braun, Lindblom, Laughton, and Frost.) Tomorrow, the Flyers’ new lineup will have one game to locate chemistry before heading to Lake Tahoe. Raffl and Nicolas Aube-Kubel find themselves in the top-six for Philadelphia, while three players make their season debut (Kase, Andreoff, Sushko.)