As the Flyers prepare for their first-round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens, head coach Alain Vigneault revealed that injured forward Jakub Voracek skated with the team at practice on Monday and will be a game-time decision for Game 1 on Wednesday.
Without any pre-existing injuries or conditions, it is unsure what kept the 30-year-old right-winger out of Saturday’s round-robin finale win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, but his status is still very much in the air.
Voracek’s absence would be a sizable one if he is not able to go. He has been one of Philadelphia’s best playmakers in recent years, posting six-straight seasons of at least 40 assists.
Meanwhile, also on Monday, Vigneault, Kevin Hayes, Nate Thompson, Travis Konecny, and Claude Giroux helped break down the Flyers.
Here is what they’re saying:
Alain Vigneault on his team’s recent play against the Canadiens
“We had some really challenging games against Montreal. They’re a good quick team and they just beat a team that obviously has a couple of superstars and a team that finished one point behind us. So we’re expecting a real tough opponent, a real tough series and we’re preparing ourselves accordingly.”
On facing Canadiens goaltender Carey Price
“I really believe that everything’s been said about Price. Obviously a premier goaltender in the league, he gives the Canadiens a chance every game. I’m not sure if there’s not much more I can add about what he is and what he adds to that team. “
Nate Thompson on facing his former team
“They’re a team that works. They work extremely hard and fast. They play a high-speed game and they have Carey Price on the backend there as the backbone. They’re the real deal. They beat Pittsburgh for a reason and we have to make sure we’re ready.”
Claude Giroux on the difference between round-robin and qualifying games
“Just watching the other games, you can see the level of intensity was maybe higher for the play-ins. For us, we’re pretty happy with our game during the round-robin… I think we feel like we’re playing pretty good right now…. Maybe they’ll be a little bit more ready than us early on, but the round-robin was still intense. It was more intense than a regular-season game.”
Kevin Hayes on the Canadiens’ path to the playoffs vs. the Flyers’
“Their games were a little more important than ours. But we were the fourth seed and jumped up to the one seed so we took our games pretty serious… I don’t think it should be a problem for our group.
Our games weren’t as important as Montreal’s, they obviously had a win-or-go-home type series while ours… weren’t to that point. We’ve had a couple of times in our three games where we got hemmed in our own zone, so once we figure that out… our whole team game will come together.”
Travis Konecny on the Flyers’ mindset moving forward
“We shouldn’t take them lightly just because we’re the bottom seed. Their backend is a strong asset for them… They have big guys, tough guys to play against with some skilled forwards too… This is a task we’re taking very seriously and this should be a fun series.
It’s just a fun atmosphere to be a part of and moving forward in the playoffs, it’s what you need… We’re on the right track.”