The Flyers will be just as shorthanded Sunday in Lake Tahoe as they are tonight in South Philly.
Head coach Alain Vigneault confirmed that the six players on the team’s COVID-19 list -- forwards Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, Jakub Voracek and defenseman Justin Braun -- will not make the trip to Nevada for Sunday’s made-for-TV event against the Bruins (new time: 2 p.m.). Morgan Frost was removed from the list on Thursday.
After kicking around dressing an extra defenseman tonight against the Rangers, Vigneault decided to stay with a traditional lineup of 12 forwards and six D-men. The bottom two lines are especially green.
“There’s a lot of guys that have wanted more minutes, a bigger role,” Vigneault said. “They’re going to get that opportunity tonight and hopefully they can help us win a game.
Here is tonight’s opening lineup:
James van Riemsdyk-Sean Couturier-Joel Farabee
Michael Raffl-Kevin Hayes-Nic Aube-Kubel
David Kase-Nolan Patrick-Connor Bunnaman
Samuel Morin-Andy Andreoff-Maksim Sushko
Ivan Provorov-Phil Myers
Travis Sanheim-Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg-Erik Gustafsson
Carter Hart will start in net for the 10th time in 14 games.
Travis Sanheim will play his first game since Feb. 5. He was placed on the COVID-19 protocol list two days later but was asymptomatic. He will be paired tonight with Gostisbehere for the first time all season.
“I’d like to think we can feed off each other and use our skill set to our advantage,” he said.
The game was moved up an hour and will start at 2 p.m. It’s not often a forecast of “sunlight with no cloud cover” is a problem, but this presumably could result in difficult sun glare later in the day.
Despite the depleted lineup, the Flyers are still slightly favored tonight at -115 odds. Their Stanley Cup chances remain around 15-1, though DraftKings has 17-1.
Maksim Sushko will become the second active player from Belarus, and the 14th overall. Collect two round-trip tickets to Minsk if you knew that Devils forward Yegor Sharangovich was the other current Belarusian. (Corrected)
Tonight starts a burst of 40 games in 82 days for the Flyers -- with three still to reschedule.
The Rangers are coming off a 5-2 loss to a Devils team that hadn’t played in 16 days. The Flyers haven’t played in 10.
New York has four goals in its last four games, which includes being shutout twice.
The Flyers won all three meetings last season by a combined score of 15-5. Carter Hart was in net for each game.