Rain could be an issue for Penguins-Flyers Stadium Series game

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NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Saturday’s Stadium Series matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers from Lincoln Financial Field. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Around this time of year, we’re thinking about trades and teams battling for playoff position. As far as hockey goes, the weather report isn’t really on the radar, aside from those times when snowfall makes getting to the games tougher than a puck battle with Zdeno Chara.

Rain isn’t usually a worry, but what makes outdoor games unique also makes them vulnerable to Mother Nature’s whims.

As you can see from the NBC 10 forecast via Tammie Souza in the video above the headline, Saturday night’s 2019 Stadium Series game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers is threatened by what could be heavy rain. The game is set to begin at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, if all goes to plan. (Here’s the livestream link.)

That plan seems to be in some peril, but as of this writing, the NHL’s not delaying or postponing it … yet. Here’s the league’s release:

Despite there being some level of precipitation in the forecast, the National Hockey League continues preparations for tomorrow’s 2019 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins. The League is monitoring the conditions and, as of now, the game is still on as originally scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Lincoln Financial Field. The NHL will issue a further update by 12 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Weather worries have cropped up for outdoor games before, and if past experiences are any indication, things could be touch-and-go at times for Saturday — and possibly Sunday, if a postponement happens.

Now, this ultimately boils down to one game of 82 as far as the standings go, but there’s quite a bit on the line. While the Flyers’ playoff hopes seem very dim, the Penguins are fighting for every point to try to make the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and that road only got bumpier after the Blue Jackets added Matt Duchene.

UPDATE 2/23: The NHL says the game will remain an 8 p.m ET start time. Here are the weather-related contingency plans:

·Once the game has begun, it may be subject to one or more temporary stoppages due to unplayable weather conditions, at the discretion of the Commissioner.

·Period and game format may be reconfigured to accommodate temporary stoppages as determined appropriate by the Commissioner.

·In the event of high winds at the ice surface, the clubs will switch ends at the 10:00 minute mark of the third period as signaled by a “hard whistle.” The face off will take place where the play was whistled dead. This identical procedure will take place at the 2:30 minute mark of an overtime period, if needed.

· In the event of a shootout, each club will determine what end they prefer to defend, which could be the same end.

·If the game is started, then stopped permanently due to unplayable weather conditions, it will be deemed “official” once two periods have been played. The team leading at the time play is stopped will be declared the winner and will be awarded two points in the standings.

·If the game is tied at the time play is stopped permanently, any time after two periods of play, each team will be awarded one point in the standings, with an opportunity to earn an additional point in a standard shootout format.

·If weather conditions permit, the shootout will be conducted at Lincoln Financial Field immediately after regulation play has been stopped. If weather conditions make it impossible to conduct a shootout safely at Lincoln Financial Field, the shootout will take place at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday, March 17 prior to the regularly scheduled Philadelphia-Pittsburgh game, with Philadelphia deemed the home club for shootout purposes only.

·If the game is started, and stopped permanently due to unplayable weather conditions, and fewer than two periods of regular time has been played, the game will be officially “postponed” and, if possible, will be played in its entirety at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, Feb. 24. If the game cannot be replayed at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, Feb. 24, it will be rescheduled at Wells Fargo Center on a date to be determined later in the season.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.