Flyers (22-16-6) at Bruins (22-18-5)
1 p.m. on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App
Before their NHL-mandated bye week, the Flyers take on a back-to-back road weekend, which starts with a trip to Boston to meet the Bruins at TD Garden on Saturday afternoon.
Let’s get you set for the matchup with five things to know:
1. Frame of mind
This weekend won’t be easy for the Flyers.
Following the Bruins game, the orange and black travel to the nation’s capital to play the smoking-hot Capitals on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
But after narrowly earning a much-needed win on Thursday night, the Flyers have an opportunity to restore some confidence. If they can snag one of these two games against Eastern Conference contenders, it can only do wonders for the team’s psyche. That would be two victories in four days after winning just twice from to Dec. 17 to Jan. 11.
“We’ve been preaching the importance of the points heading forward,” Travis Konecny said after Thursday’s 5-4 shootout win over the Canucks. “We’re not a team that’s going to look at the standings, but we’ve had to dial that in a little bit lately and make sure that we’re on the right page, everyone’s on the right page, and we’re heading in the right direction and doing the simple things and sticking together. Hopefully, we can keep on this roll and keep getting better and better.”
2. Turning to Neuvy
It may be time to give Michal Neuvirth some run.
The backup goalie was a cathartic presence Thursday in spelling Steve Mason, who allowed four goals on 24 shots over the first two periods. In came Neuvirth to make 14 saves and shun all three shootout attempts for his second win in as many games since returning from a left knee injury that sidelined him nearly two months.
Mason is 0-5-2 with a 3.78 goals-against average and .860 save percentage in his past eight games.
“I am just not happy with where the game is at right now,” Mason said Thursday. “I have to find ways to work through this and to get back to where I can be.
“It’s not mental. I’ve played a lot of hockey. There hasn’t been a lot of time to have practice and actually work on things. When you are playing a lot of hockey, you just kind of keep going and keep going. I think it would be good to get some practice in.”
Neuvirth is expected to start in Boston.
3. Still getting Tuukka
It appeared the Flyers would catch a break and not see All-Star goalie Tuukka Rask, who exited Thursday night’s game in the first period after taking a shot to the throat.
Not so fast, though.
Rask is fine and declared himself ready for Saturday’s game following practice Friday.
And that’s trouble for the Flyers.
The 2013-14 Vezina Trophy winner (top goalie) is 21-9-3 and ranks second in the NHL with five shutouts and third with a 1.95 goals-against average.
The Bruins don’t light up the scoreboard but will grind out games with the best of them on the back of Rask. Boston allows just 2.42 goals per game, good for fifth fewest in the league, while its 87.2 penalty-kill percentage is second best.
4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: Sean Couturier has three goals in his last six games after scoring three over his previous 20. When the defensive-minded center is adding an offensive element to the team’s attack, the Flyers are tough to beat.
Bruins: Patrice Bergeron is crucial to the Bruins’ prowess on the PK and controlling play. The three-time Selke Trophy winner (top defensive forward) is also heating up offensively with three goals and four assists over his past eight games.
5. This and that
• Neuvirth is 1-4-0 with a 3.70 goals-against average and .868 save percentage in eight career games against Boston.
• Rask is 10-2-3 with a 2.12 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in 16 lifetime matchups with the Flyers.
• The Flyers have not won a road game since Dec. 14. They are 0-4-3 in their last seven away from home, a stretch in which they’ve been outscored 25-9.
• Of their 45 games thus far, the Bruins have played just 19 at home, where they are 9-10-0.
• Defenseman Mark Streit (shoulder) will return to the lineup after missing 13 games.