For one team, today is an opportunity to make NHL history and continue a historic season. For the other, they have a chance to play spoiler in a lost season.
The Philadelphia Flyers are the latter of those two clubs as they host the Boston Bruins, who are looking to win their 63rd game of the season to set a new NHL record.
The Bruins tied the record last night after a 2-1 victory over New Jersey gave them their 62nd win of the year. Only the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning and 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings have previously won that many games in a single season.
Boston possesses likely the deepest and most complete roster in the league, and they have played better than advertised this season. David Pastrňák has led the offensive charge for this Bruins club, notching 57 goals and 48 assists for 105 points in just 79 games. He easily leads the Bruins in each offensive category and ranks 2nd in goals and 5th in points league-wide, respectively.
The amount of points from 1st to 2nd for Boston drops significantly, but the group is well spread out. Brad Marchand’s fitting 63 points are runner-up to Pastrňák, Patrice Bergeron follows him up with 57, David Krejčí has recorded 56, and first-year Bruin Pavel Zacha rounds out the top five at 55 points. Defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Charlie McAvoy aren’t far behind them either as they’ve registered 52 and 50 points each, respectively, while anchoring arguably the most dominant blueline in the NHL this season.
While the Bruins’ skater group has garnered plenty of well-deserved attention, the story of this team has been goaltender Linus Ullmark. Ullmark is the undisputed Vezina Trophy favorite at this point as he possesses a stellar 39-6-1 record, .938 save percentage, 1.89 goals against average, and 2 shutouts in 48 appearances this year. He has just simply been on another level this season, but luckily for the Flyers, Ullmark will have the night off after making 29 of 30 saves in Boston’s 2-1 victory last night.
Jeremy Swayman will start today against Philadelphia, a team now mired in a 6-game losing streak after last night’s 4-0 shutout defeat to the New York Islanders.
The Flyers had their legs moving early in the first period and were generating shots on goal and scoring chances, but a few costly mistakes ended up in the back of their net and the Islanders never looked back.
Felix Sandström figures to start tonight after backing up Carter Hart on Long Island. Sandström did play the entire third period after Hart was pulled, but he only faced 3 shots on goal and wasn’t very busy at all.
With both teams playing the second leg of back-to-back sets tonight, this game could start out rather sloppy. However, the Bruins have 62 wins for a reason, so the Flyers will have to match their energy right from the jump and keep pace if they want any chance at preventing NHL history on their home ice.
PHI Record: 29-37-13, 71 pts, 7th in Metropolitan
BOS Record: 62-12-5, 129 pts, 1st in Atlantic
Last Game PHI: 4/8/23, 4-0 L at NY Islanders
Last Game BOS: 4/8/23, 2-1 W vs. New Jersey
When: 6:00pm ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
PHI Goalie: Felix Sandström (2-11-3, .881 SV%, 3.63 GAA, 0 SO)
BOS Goalie: Jeremy Swayman (22-6-4, .921 SV%, 2.20 GAA, 4 SO)
PHI Projected Lineup
#13 Kevin Hayes – #49 Noah Cates – #74 Owen Tippett
#86 Joel Farabee – #48 Morgan Frost – #11 Travis Konecny
#25 James van Riemsdyk – #21 Scott Laughton – #57 Wade Allison
#44 Nicolas Deslauriers – #58 Tanner Laczynski – #22 Brendan Lemieux
#20 Kieffer Bellows
#9 Ivan Provorov – #45 Cam York
#6 Travis Sanheim – #55 Rasmus Ristolainen
#61 Justin Braun
#32 Felix Sandström
#79 Carter Hart
BOS Projected Lineup
#63 Brad Marchand – #37 Patrice Bergeron – #74 Jake DeBrusk
#59 Tyler Bertuzzi – #18 Pavel Zacha – #88 David Pastrňák
#71 Taylor Hall – #13 Charlie Coyle – #11 Trent Frederic
#10 A.J. Greer – #92 Tomáš Nosek – #21 Garnet Hathaway
#48 Matt Grzelcyk – #73 Charlie McAvoy
#27 Hampus Lindholm – #25 Brandon Carlo
#67 Jakub Zbořil – #81 Dmitry Orlov
#1 Jeremy Swayman
#35 Linus Ullmark
PHI Injuries: Sean Couturier (back), Ryan Ellis (hip), Cam Atkinson (neck), Nick Seeler (illness)
Scratched: Tony DeAngelo
BOS Injuries: Nick Foligno (lower-body), Derek Forbort (lower-body), David Krejčí (lower-body)
Scratched: Connor Clifton, Oskar Steen, Vinny Lettieri, Brandon Bussi, Jack Ahcan, Connor Carrick, Jakub Lauko
News and Notes
– The Flyers are rolling with a rare 13F/5D lineup today, barring an emergency recall before puck drop. Nick Seeler is out with an illness and Kieffer Bellows draws back into the lineup, while Tony DeAngelo will be a healthy scratch for a third consecutive game.
– Today wouldn’t be the first time NHL history was made between the Flyers and Bruins. The Flyers set the record for the longest undefeated streak in league history against the Bruins at the old Boston Garden on December 22nd, 1979. Philadelphia would ultimately extend the streak to 35 games (25-0-10), still the longest undefeated streak in North American sports history.
– Flyers games played milestones that will be reached today: Justin Braun – 840, Rasmus Ristolainen – 680, Ivan Provorov – 530, Joel Farabee – 250, Owen Tippett – 190, Cam York – 85.
– Boston is 2-0-0 against Philadelphia this season, outscoring the Flyers by a lopsided ratio of 10-1. Those games ended 4-1 on November 17th and 6-0 on January 16th, each at TD Garden in favor of the Bruins.
– Today is the 215th all-time meeting between the Flyers and Bruins since Philadelphia entered the league in 1967. Boston owns a 117-63-21-13 advantage in the all-time series.
– Happy Easter to all who celebrate!
Broadcast Info: TV – TNT, Radio – 97.5 The Fanatic