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Flyers at Islanders: Alain Vigneault makes lineup changes for must-win game



Alain Vigneault (AP photo)

The Philadelphia Flyers are running out of time. After splitting their home-and-home with the Bruins, they’re five points behind Boston and tied with the Rangers for fifth place in the East Division. It’s getting late early in Philadelphia.

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The Flyers need every point they can get if they want to get back into this thing. Tonight, they’re up on Long Island to take on the Islanders. They played a solid game on Saturday night against the Islanders but lost in a shootout.

Projected lines and pairs

Flyers forward lines

Alain Vigneault has made a few changes to the Flyers lines but will have the same 12 forwards active tonight.

James van RiemsdykSean CouturierOskar Lindblom
Travis KonecnyClaude GirouxJakub Voracek
Scott LaughtonKevin HayesJoel Farabee
Michael RafflNolan PatrickNicolas Aube-Kubel

Joel Farabee slides down to play with Scott Laughton and Kevin Hayes.

Oskar Lindblom, who moved up to the top line for parts of Tuesday night’s game, will remain there tonight.

Nolan Patrick is moving back to his natural center position on the fourth line.

Flyers defensive pairs

The Flyers have a change on defense for the first time since their few days off.

Ivan ProvorovJustin Braun
Travis SanheimRobert Hagg
Samuel MorinShayne Gostisbehere

Robert Hagg is returning to the lineup for Philippe Myers. Hagg has missed three weeks with an injury and Myers has struggled this season. The change is as much about getting Hagg in as it is about Myers’ play, per Vigneault.

Flyers starting goalie

Carter Hart is back between the pipes after a decent showing on Tuesday night.

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

Hart was tremendous against the Islanders on Saturday.

Follow us on Twitter (@PhillyHockeyNow) and keep an eye out for lineup updates as we get closer to game time.

Betting odds and trends

via Covers

  • The Flyers are +150 underdogs against the Islanders (-170). The total is set at 5.5 goals.

Get In The Game With Online Sports Betting

Flyers trends

  • 0-4 in their last 4 in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation.
  • 1-5 in their last 6 in the fourth game of a 4-in-6 situation.
  • 9-4 in their last 13 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
  • 3-7 in their last 10 overall.
  • 2-5 in their last 7 games playing on 1 days rest.
  • 3-12 in their last 15 games as an underdog.

Islanders trends

  • 9-1 in their last 10 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
  • 14-3 in their last 17 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game.
  • 7-2 in their last 9 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
  • 9-4 in their last 13 games playing on 1 days rest.

Head-to-head trends

  • Flyers are 2-6 in the last 8 meetings in New York.
  • Over is 6-2-1 in the last 9 meetings in New York.
  • Over is 17-7-1 in the last 25 meetings.

What to watch for

1. Is every game a must-win game?

The Flyers pretty much have to win the large majority of their remaining games to have a chance to make the playoffs. They’re five points behind the Bruins, who have two games in hand. Every game is now a must-win for the Flyers.

If the Flyers can’t get the job done tonight, they risk falling further out of the playoff picture with the teams above them in the standings also in action. The trade deadline is now in less than 100 hours and the clock is ticking for Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers.

2. Which Carter Hart will show up?

Carter Hart returned with a great performance on Saturday night on Long Island, but gave up a weak goal in Tuesday night’s loss to Boston. He’s looked more confident in the net and has been making strong saves, but weak goals could impact his confidence.

Hopefully, Hart can find his game again and get back on track for this season and beyond. He’s a huge part of the Flyers’ future.

3. Can the Flyers slow down the new-look Islanders?

The Islanders made the first big splash of trade deadline season on Wednesday night. They acquired both Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the Devils for a first-round pick and a few minor pieces.

NHL trade market opens with Islanders-Devils deal; what it means for the Flyers

The Flyers will get the first look at the new and improved Islanders lineup tonight with Palmieri and Zajac making their debuts.

Zajac and Palmieri are expected to play together with Josh Bailey on the third line.

The Flyers and Islanders are set for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop on Thursday night.

Photo Credit: Heather Barry Images

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