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NHL Stadium Series

Brayden Schenn eager for next Stadium Series memory

Versatile Flyers forward scored first NHL goal at 2012 Winter Classic

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Philadelphia Flyers forward Brayden Schenn already was feeling some pressure to score his first NHL goal when the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic arrived. The last thing he needed was his coach to start tapping his toe like the impatient guy behind him in the grocery store checkout line.

"Before the game we're walking out of the tunnel, and [coach] Peter Laviolette said, 'Are you going to show me something tonight?'" Schenn said. "His words were, 'I need one from you tonight. I can't wait forever.'"

Thanks, coach.

"Forever" ended up coming at 12:26 of the second period, when Schenn scored the first goal of the game in an eventual 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

Five years later, the Flyers will play outside again, this time at the 2017 Coors Light Stadium Series against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Feb. 25 (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports 2, NHL.TV).

Schenn scored his 101st NHL goal against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, and his goal against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday was his League-high 14th power-play goal. He has 38 points (18 goals, 20 assists) in 56 games this season, and has been valuable as a first-line left wing or second-line center.

"He seems more comfortable in the middle, but [he] scored 26 goals last year on the wing," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said. "So I look at Brayden more as a guy that can play in the middle or on the left side, depending on what your weakness is."

Schenn had the best season of his career in 2015-16, playing mostly left wing on a line with center Claude Giroux and right wing Wayne Simmonds. But when center Sean Couturier sustained a lower-body injury against the Florida Panthers on Nov. 22, Schenn was shifted into the middle for the next game, against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He did well enough at center that he remained there once Couturier returned Dec. 28.

In 35 games as a center, Schenn led the Flyers with 13 goals and was third with 22 points. But with coach Dave Hakstol looking for additional offense, Schenn was reunited with Giroux and Simmonds for a game against the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 11.

Video: PHI@EDM: Schenn slides puck past Talbot for PPG

"Center is a comfortable position for me," he said. "With Couturier being out I got a good taste of it, where it wasn't really a one- or two-game tryout. I had some games that I knew I was going to be in the middle, and I felt like I performed under the situation. … I feel like center is where I like to be. At the same time, wherever they need me to play, I'll be happy to fill that role."

If Schenn does go back to center, he knows there are areas where he needs to improve; during his 35-game stint at center he won 45.7 percent of his faceoffs and was minus-11; he was on the ice for 18 goals-against at 5-on-5, according to Corsica.hockey.

"One thing I can work on is my 200-foot game," he said. "I want to continue to work. … I have a long way to go there, but that's something I can work on and try and be that full 200-foot game, complete player."

He'll continue that as he relishes another chance to play outdoors. He vividly can recall the play that led up to his goal.

"It was a faceoff play," he said. "[Defenseman] Matt Carle held the puck in, shot it far pad on [Rangers goaltender Henrik] Lundqvist and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Obviously a special moment for me."

Now five years older and with 100 NHL goals, Schenn, 25, looks to have another special moment at the Stadium Series game in Pittsburgh.

"I think you've always got to cherish these outdoor games," he said. "The one I played in [2012] was a lot of fun, being outside, good atmosphere. This one will be underneath the lights so I think it'll be better than that. Everyone's looking forward to it."

Video: PHI@CAR: Schenn nets his 100th career goal

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