Flyers (34-22-11) at Bruins (41-15-8)
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: TD Garden
BROADCAST & STREAMING: TV–NBCSP; radio–93.3 FM.
SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Twitter, @BroadStBull @samdonnellon
KEY PLAYERS: Facing a back-to-back, towing along a four-game losing streak, the Flyers caught a small break with the Wednesday announcement that the three-game suspension of Bruins forward David Backes (11 goals, 16 assists) for a late and high hit would begin Thursday. Boston is already missing Patrice Bergeron with a broken foot, and lost rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy with an MCL sprain Sunday night. A Calder Cup candidate until the injury, McAvoy has seven goals and 25 assists and is a plus-26. … Meanwhile, Flyers backup goaltender Alex Lyon is expected to start. After a rough initial outing, he has won his last two games and enters with a 2.88 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. … Lyon was 15-8-2 with a 2.83 GAA and a .911 save percentage for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms this year. … The Bruins have won the first four games of their six-game home stand. Brad Marchand has won the last two with an overtime goal and had a hat trick in Boston’s 5-4 victory over Detroit on Monday night. He assisted on the other two goals.
THINGS TO KNOW: Boston is second in the Atlantic Division, six points back of Tampa Bay (46-17-4, 96 points). The Flyers missed a chance to tie for first in the Metro Division with Wednesday’s loss, but are still six points clear of the last playoff spot, currently held by Columbus. However, the Florida Panthers, who dominated the Flyers on Sunday, are two points below that and surging. The Flyers are 18-11-5 on the road for the year and they averaged 3.00 goals scored and 2.82 goals allowed in those games. The Flyers’ once-potent power play, ranked 14th in the league, was 0 for 5 in Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to the Penguins. The Flyers were charged with 13 giveaways in that game, to Pittsburgh’s 5.
HEAD TO HEAD: Including playoffs, the Flyers are 81-122-21 all-time against the Bruins. They are 47-54-10 at home and have lost three straight to them. The Flyers’ lifeless, 3-0, nationally televised loss to the Bruins back on Dec. 2 was the season’s low point. That marked their 10th loss in a row. Since, they are 26-10-4 and have moved from last place into the discussion at least about top seeding and home ice.
Thursday at Boston, 7 p.m.
Saturday vs. Winnipeg, 1 p.m.
Monday vs. Vegas, 7 p.m.