Vigneault looking at Hayes' bond with Patrick as potential spark


As the Flyers (8-4-3) host the Rangers (6-7-3) on Wednesday, Nolan Patrick will play in a new spot on a new line.

Let's get into the essentials for the game:

  • When: 7 p.m. ET
  • Where: Wells Fargo Center
  • Broadcast: NBC Sports Network
  • Live stream: and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• Patrick is scoreless with four shots over his last eight games. The 22-year-old center is a defensively responsible player, but the Flyers need more offense from Patrick, especially with the club still missing four forwards.

In an attempt to alleviate some of the playmaking pressure on Patrick's shoulders, head coach Alain Vigneault is shifting Patrick to the right wing on Kevin Hayes' line for at least one game. Hayes has been a point-per-game player through 15 games with six goals and nine assists. He leads the team in shots (37) and is one of the Flyers' top play creators with size and puck-protection ability.

Hayes and Patrick have lived together and become good friends since the beginning of last season. Vigneault believes the chemistry could serve as an offensive spark for Patrick, giving him more opportunities off the puck and with it.

"I wanted to put Nolan on that side to sort of help him get going a little bit here," Vigneault said Tuesday. "Him and Hayesy are very close, we need Nolan to play better than he has so far. It's not an easy situation when you've missed the amount of time that he has missed, but we need to find a way here to help him and help him find his game. I thought that with Hayesy and that connection, that might help."

Prior to this season, Patrick hadn't played an NHL game in over 650 days as he missed the 2019-20 campaign with a migraine disorder. He has five points (two goals, three assists) in 15 games this season. It's not always about point production, but scoreless stretches can't be prolonged ones. Both the Flyers and Patrick understand the big picture. They want more consistency.

"He's a smart player, he's always in the right position," Vigneault said. "I believe, and he'll tell you this also, he can make more plays than he's making at this time. I think he needs to be a little bit more involved, a little bit more intense in his 1-on-1 battles — with and without the puck. With the puck, that would enable him to make more plays, and without it, I think it would enable him to get the puck back a little bit quicker.

"There's no doubt that there's a lot of things right now going through his mind, just like Oskar [Lindblom] — those guys have missed so much. You've got to show some patience, you've got to show some confidence and you've got to work with the players to help them find their game. There's too much potential there and too much talent for it to, at some point, not come out and come out consistently."

• Claude Giroux practiced Tuesday and skated Wednesday morning. He is expected to return to the lineup following a 14-day absence because of COVID protocol. He missed consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 20-25, 2016.

"I don't remember the last time I watched the Flyers play at home," Giroux said Tuesday. "It wasn't that fun. You want to be out there and help the team."

• Star forward Artemi Panarin is on a leave of absence from the Rangers for a personal matter involving his native country Russia.

Panarin was a Hart Memorial Trophy finalist last season and leads New York in scoring.

Projected lineup



James van Riemsdyk-Sean Couturier-Joel Farabee

Claude Giroux-Kevin Hayes-Nolan Patrick

Michael Raffl-Connor Bunnaman-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Carsen Twarynski-Andy Andreoff-Samuel Morin


Ivan Provorov-Shayne Gostisbehere

Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers

Robert Hagg-Erik Gustafsson


Brian Elliott

Carter Hart

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