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It’s Official: Flyers-Devils To Play At MetLife Stadium On Feb. 17



MetLife Stadium, site of Stadium Series with Flyers and Devils in February.
MetLife Stadium, site of Stadium Series with Flyers and Devils in February.

The Flyers will play the Devils in a Stadium Series game at MetLife Stadium on Saturday night, Feb. 17, the NHL confirmed Saturday.

The game will be the sixth outdoor game for the Flyers. The Devils will be the home team for the game at East Rutherford, N.J.

The exact game time will be determined with consultation with broadcast partner ESPN and is expected to be announced soon, the NHL said.

The next afternoon, the Rangers will play the Islanders at MetLife Stadium, the first time the NHL has played outdoor games in the same venue on consecutive days.

“We have four of our great franchises playing and we want to really hone in on what makes those franchises special,” Dean Matsuzaki, NHL executive vice president of events, said in a Zoom conference call Saturday. “It’s not that far for Flyers fans to travel up the [New Jersey] Turnpike.”

Matsuzaki said the league expects both games to sell out. The MetLife capacity for hockey is expected to be about 75,000.

“We feel very confident these two matchups will sell out the building two days in a row, which for us will be unprecedented,” Matsuzaki said.

This is the first time since 2018 an outdoor game has been played in the New York metropolitan area.

The Weather?

With any outdoor game, the weather is the most imposing and unpredictable factor.

The normal high in East Rutherford on Feb. 17 is 37 degrees. The normal low is 23. In 2022, it was 59 degrees with rain at 8 p.m. — neither condition conductive to ice.

“With any of our outdoor games, but especially with two back-to-back, weather obviously is the biggest thing we’ll be watching, and reacting to,” said Steve Mayer, NHL chief content officer and senior executive vice president.

“And obviously being able to have the ice sheet recover from the various practices, having four teams practicing as opposed to two teams.

“These are a big deal for our teams. The teams, the players, they love to play in these games. But part of the experience is getting to skate the day before, bringing their families and skating with them on the ice. We want that to continue whether we’re playing two games or 10 games.”

The NHL executives were asked about the uniqueness of the venues of the outdoor games, which have been played at cool places such as Citizens Bank Park, Fenway Park, Michigan Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field. MetLife is an NFL stadium without much history or uniqueness.

“Our ‘wow’ factor is how we take a football stadium and bring it to life in a creative way,” Matsuzaki said.

Outdoor games usually include musical acts. New Jersey has several headline types. Any insight there?

“If you know Bruce Springsteen, can you send him the cell number. We’d like to talk to him immediately,” Matsuzaki said. “There’s a lot of great music in the Tri-State area and especially in New Jersey and it would be a dream, a goal,  to have one of those great, legendary artists perform at our game.”

Flyers History Outdoors

The Flyers are 1-4 in outdoor games. Twenty-nine of the NHL’s 32 teams have played in outdoor games.

The Flyers have played in two Stadium Series games. In 2017, the Flyers lost to the Penguins at Heinz Field, 4-2.

In 2019, on a rainy night at Lincoln Financial Field, the Flyers rallied to defeat the Penguins, 4-3, on an overtime goal by Claude Giroux.

The Flyers’ first outdoor game was Jan. 1, 2010, when they lost in overtime, 2-1, in the Winter Classic to the Bruins at Fenway Park.

On Jan. 2, 2012, the Flyers hosted the Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park and lost to the Rangers, 3-2.

In the NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe game on Feb. 21, 2021, the Flyers lost the Bruins, 7-3. The game was played without fans due to Covid.

There will two additional outdoor games next season: Calgary at Edmonton in the Heritage Classic on Oct. 29, and Vegas at Seattle in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1.

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