James van Riemsdyk got a haircut and one of his teeth fixed and attended the Shining Star Awards charity dinner.

Kevin Hayes went to the Sixers game and saw his Celtics lose.

Ivan Provorov made meatloaf for dinner. Matt Niskanen built toy houses with his 4-year-old son, Charlie.

“Build them up, and then tear them right back down again,” the veteran defenseman said.

Thursday was the first full day off at home after a murderous schedule, and it was a chance for the Flyers to unwind. At practice Friday, they leaned on their clutch win at home Wednesday against Washington and shifted their focus to the next challenge: a visit from the hottest team in the NHL.

Tampa Bay has won nine in a row and is again looking like the team that crushed the rest of the league last year (before being swept in the first round by Columbus).

The Lightning are coming off a 4-0 win against Arizona on Thursday that Tampa captain Steve Stamkos called their best overall game of the season.

“I don’t think it matters," Flyers goalie Carter Hart said. "Who cares what they’re doing? Obviously, we went through some hardship on the road trip there [going 1-4-1]. We weren’t playing our best hockey. But every team has to go through a tough stretch and overcome it.

"We came out with a hard performance against the Caps, the best team in the league right now. I think we just have to have the same approach coming into the game tomorrow. Come out and play our game.”

The Lightning have won five straight against the Flyers, though three of those needed overtime or a shootout. They scored three goals in the first period off Hart last February and eventually chased him.

Hart, who watched the movie It 2 on Thursday (and hated it, by the way) picked up his 12th home win of the season Wednesday. He will start Saturday (7 p.m., NBCSP+).

The absence of defensemen Justin Braun (groin) and Shayne Gostisbehere (knee) adds another challenge for the Flyers. Phil Myers and Travis Sanheim are now the second pairing, ahead of Robert Hagg and Mark Friedman.

“Five of our six defensemen are 24 years old and below,” coach Alain Vigneault pointed out. “It’s great for them to get this opportunity to get important minutes, to get tough matchups. That’s how you get better.”

Flyers starting defensemen
Age
Career games
Mark Friedman
24
2
Robert Hagg
24
178
Phil Myers
23
47
Matt Niskanen
33
924
Ivan Provorov
23
290
Travis Sanheim
23
175

Friedman received high marks for his performance against Washington. He played 12 minutes in the 3-2 win. It was the second game of his career and first this season.

“I thought ‘Freeds’ jumped in last game and was efficient in the way he moved the puck,” Niskanen said. “He competed hard and was in the right spots. … He did a good job in his first game.”

Niskanen (24 minutes Wednesday) and Provorov (26) might see even heavier minutes as the Flyers try to slow the Lightning, who are averaging 4.7 goals during their streak.

“They’re going to be a tough opponent to play,” said Sean Couturier, who spent most of his off-day on his couch. “But at the same time, it’s a great challenge and a great opportunity for us to show that we’re right up there, and that we’re a good team, as well.”

This will be Tampa Bay’s only visit this regular season to the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers have won eight of their last nine at home, all in regulation, which will be huge come tiebreaker time. The win Wednesday was arguably as big as any, especially for the jolt it gave them in the locker room.

“When we play our game,” Hart said, “we’re as good as anybody.”

Ice chips

David Kase will play his first game since Dec. 19, taking Misha Vorobyev’s spot in the lineup. “Energy and speed," Vigneault said. “We play some quick teams here coming up." ... Oskar Lindblom (Ewing’s sarcoma) stopped by for a visit after practice Friday. “Treatments are going well,” Vigneault said. “We can’t shake hands or hug, but it’s good for him to be around the boys and it’s good for everybody to see him.” ... The Lightning’s five consecutive wins against the Flyers have come against four goalies: Michal Neuvirth, Petr Mrazek, Calvin Pickard, and Hart. Brian Elliott was the last to beat Tampa, back on Dec. 29, 2017. ... Reserve forward Chris Stewart sat out practice with the flu. ... The Inquirer’s free, twice-weekly Flyers newsletter will launch Tuesday morning. Visit Inquirer.com/newsletters to sign up.