These are reflective times in our country, and athletes at the forefront are using their platform to bring attention to social issues.

The NHL postponed playoff games for Thursday and Friday as the players showed unity against the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

The Flyers were supposed to play Game 3 against the New York Islanders on Thursday in an Eastern Conference semifinal that is tied at one game apiece. That game has been moved to Saturday (see schedule below).

To get more insight about social injustice, Flyers player representative James van Riemsdyk reached out to a teammate from earlier this year.

You’re signed up to get this newsletter in your inbox three days a week during the Eastern Conference semifinals. If you like what you’re reading, tell your friends it’s free to sign up here. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter (@sjnard). Thank you for reading.

— Marc Narducci Name (flyers@inquirer.com)

JVR makes the call to Chris Stewart

Van Riemsdyk said that he called Chris Stewart on Thursday morning, looking for his opinion on what course of direction the NHL should take. Stewart, a Black man who hails from Toronto, was van Riemsdyk’s teammate at the beginning of the season with the Flyers.

A veteran who was a first-round draft choice of Colorado in 2006, Stewart was waived by the Flyers in mid-January and then played with the Phantoms. In June, Stewart was among seven current/former players who formed the Hockey Diversity Alliance, whose mission is to “to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey.” Among the seven is former Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds, who finished the season with Buffalo.

On Thursday before the NHL decided to postpone the games for the next two days, Simmons tweeted that the Hockey Diversity Alliance requested that the NHL suspend all playoff games on Thursday.

With so much up in the air Thursday morning, van Riemsdyk made the call.

“I only got a chance to play with Stewy for obviously this season,” van Riemsdyk said Thursday evening in a Zoom interview. “I’ve gotten to know him really well and really respect him as a teammate and a friend.”

Before the NHL decided to postpone the games, van Riemsdyk wanted to get Stewart’s views on the situation.

“Obviously him being a part of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, [I] just wanted to reach out to him as someone who has been involved in some of these other conversations being had and stuff like that,” van Riemsdyk said. “For us, I think we’re trying to do the right thing, looking for things we can do to show support and be a part of this. That’s why a few of us reached out to him to try to start some of these conversations and, again, see what we can do to try and help things in this case.”

Chris Stewart while with the Flyers earlier this season.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Chris Stewart while with the Flyers earlier this season.

Things to know

A comprehensive preview of Game 3 is provided by Ed Barkowitz.

Barkowitz wonders if the NHL should have played the later games Wednesday after the NBA and others postponed games.

Down two games to one to Tampa Bay, in the other Eastern Conference semifinal, the Boston Bruins look to rebound from a 7-1 loss in Game 3.

Statistically speaking

The importance of going up 2-1: Going up 2-1 in a seven-game series is a huge advantage, and that has been the case for the Flyers. In their history, the Flyers are 21-3 in a series when they led 2-1 and 7-22 when they trailed 2-1. In their first playoff series this season, they took a 2-1 lead over Montreal with a 1-0 win and went on to win the series in six games.

Bounce-back ability: The Flyers are 11-0 in their last 11 games after a loss. They have not lost consecutive games since early January. On Jan. 7, the Flyers lost their fourth in a row, a 5-4 overtime defeat at Carolina. Since then, the biggest losing streak has been one game.

On the high plus side: Since the Flyers returned to action, center Kevin Hayes, who had two goals in Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime win, is a team-best plus-8 in 11 games. Defenseman Phil Myers, who scored the game-winner Wednesday, is a plus-7. Center Jean-Gabriel Pageau is a plus-11 in 11 games for the Islanders. Defenseman Nick Leddy and winger Josh Bailey are plus-10.

Important dates

Flyers vs. N.Y. Islanders/Series tied, 1-1

Saturday Aug. 29: Game 3, at N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)

Sunday Aug. 30: Game 4, at N.Y. Islanders, 8 p.m. (NBC)

Tuesday Sept. 1: Game 5, at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)

*Thursday Sept. 3: Game 6, at N.Y. Islanders, time/TV TBD

*Saturday Sept. 5: Game 7, at Flyers, time/TV TBD

***

Boston vs. Tampa Bay/Lightning lead series, 2-1

Sunday, Aug. 23: Game 1, Boston, 3-2 (Marchand GWG)

Tuesday, Aug. 25: Game 2, Tampa Bay, 4-3 (OT, Palat GWG)

Wednesday, Aug. 26: Game 3, Tampa Bay, 7-1 (Gourde GWG)

Saturday, Aug. 29: Game 4, at Boston, noon, NBC

Monday Aug. 31: Game 5, at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)

*Wednesday, Sept. 2: Game 6, at Boston, time/TV TBA

*Thursday, Sept. 3: Game 7, at Tampa Bay time/TV TBA

*If necessary. ... All games in Toronto. ... Listed home teams have last line change during stoppages. ... NBC playoff schedule here.

From the mailbag

Question: Does the night off change your mind? — from Sean Murphy (@Smurp3131) via Twitter

Answer: Thanks for the question, Sean. I assume you are referring to whether Carter Hart gets the start in Game 3. There was speculation that in the original schedule, with back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday, Brian Elliott would get a start. Now since Game 3 has been moved to Saturday, it appears Hart will be the starter.

The question now is who will be in goal the next night. That could be when you could see Elliott.

Send questions by email or on Twitter (@broadstbull), and they could be answered in a future edition.