No matter what happens across the state tonight in Pittsburgh, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette will not be able to enjoy a relaxing weekend with his family on Jan. 30.
Instead, Laviolette will be heading to a familiar place.
By virtue of the Flyers’ 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers clinched the best points percentage (points accumulated divided by points possible) in the Eastern Conference through today’s games to make him one of the co-head coaches in the NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, N.C.
Laviolette won a Stanley Cup in Raleigh as coach of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.
The NHL arbitrarily set Jan. 8 as the deadline to select coaches for the game.
Chicago’s Joel Quenneville will coach one of the teams, which will be decided by a fantasy draft of 42 players, since his Blackhawks topped the Flyers for the Stanley Cup last June.
The coaches of the other team will be comprised of Laviolette and Alain Vignault, whose Vancouver Canucks clinched the Western Conference’s points percentage lead with a Friday night win over Edmonton.
Laviolette has never coached in an NHL All-Star Game.
When asked about the potential of coaching in Raleigh earlier this week before the Flyers’ home-and-home series with the last place Devils, Laviolette said “I want to win these games, but not for those reasons.”
While he was probably looking to spend more time during the break with his family, you can bet he'll be excited to coach in the All-Star Game in a city where he both won a Stanley Cup and was abruptly fired less than a year later.
Saturday’s win pushed the Flyers to first place in the Eastern Conference with 57 points, but the Penguins, with 56 points and one game in-hand, host Minnesota tonight. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma could have represented the East with a Flyers regular loss Saturday afternoon and a Penguins win.
The Flyers are now on pace for 114 points, a total they haven't accumulated since 1984-85.
BOUCHER PAYING IT FORWARD: Check out our story in Saturday’s Daily News about Brian Boucher’s unique mentoring role with rookie Sergei Bobrovsky. Boucher stopped 35 shots to pick up his third straight win on Saturday. He is 9-1-1 in his last 12 starts.
PRONGER PROGRESSING: For an exclusive look at Chris Pronger’s timetable for return, click here.
BACK ON THE ROAD: The Flyers will play their next four games on the road, stopping in Buffalo, Boston, Atlanta and New York over the next 7 days. Saturday's home game was the only one in a 10-game stretch that began Dec. 28 in Vancouver.
SYVRET RETURNED: The Flyers loaned defenseman Danny Syvret back to the Adirondack Phantoms on Saturday. Syvret was re-called for two days, as an insurance policy on defense, before being returned.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers
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