PREVIEW: FLYERS @ RED WINGS
Looking to head into U.S. Thanksgiving on a winning note, the Philadelphia Flyers (8-9-3) are on the road on Wednesday to take on the Detroit Red Wings (11-5-5). Game time is 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast locally on The Comcast Network Philadelphia and nationally on NBC Sports Network.
This is the second of three meetings between the teams this season and the lone game at Joe Louis Arena.
On Oct. 25 in Philadelphia, the Red Wings outplayed the Flyers for much of the first two periods but a stellar goaltending performance by Ray Emery (35 saves) and a two-goal, three-point effort by Michael Raffl steered Philly to a 4-2 win despite Detroit’s 37-17 shot edge (24-8 through two periods). A surprise second period goal by Nicklas Grossmann off a picturesque feed from Chris VandeVelde tied the game. Brayen Schenn scored the game-winner on a third-period power play.
Joe Louis Arena has historically been an inhospitable place for the Flyers. Philly managed a comeback win in Detroit last season but are 2-8-0 in their last 10 games in Detroit. The home team has won 19 of the last 21 regular season games between the clubs. Philly has won nine in a row at home against Detroit but only recently broke a prolific losing streak at the Joe.
After tonight, the Flyers will have a post-Thanksgiving home-and-home set with the New York Rangers, starting with a Black Friday matinee at the Wells Fargo Center. The Red Wings are in Newark on Friday to take on the New Jersey Devils. Flyers outlook
The Flyers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-2 home win over Columbus on Saturday night. On Monday in Long Island, the Flyers could not provide goaltender Steve Mason with even a single goal of support in a 0-0 tie through 65 minutes. New York earned the bonus point via shootout.
Mason has been sensational in his last three starts. However, he has only one win to show for his recent goaltending heroics. On Monday, Mason turned back all 46 shots the Islanders fired on his net before yielding twice in the shootout. Mason was nevertheless credited with a shutout.
The Islanders outshot Philly in all three periods — 12-6 in the first period, 15-10 in the second period, a whopping 16-4 in the third period and 3-1 in overtime.
Last night’s game marked the third time this season, and second time in the last four games, that the Flyers have been shut out. The team needs to get secondary scoring beyond the top line and the power play.
Flyers head coach Craig Berube has dressed seven defensemen in each of the last two games. There is a chance that left winger Raffl (right foot) could return this week.
Elsewhere on the Flyers’ injury front, Chris VandeVelde (lower body) is doubtful for tonight. Red Wings outlook
The Red Wings have been tough to beat this season but especially good on home ice (7-2-2). After a slow start, Mike Babcock’s team has posted a good month of November overall, posting a 5-2-2 mark over the last seven games.
Detroit enters this game coming off a 4-3 home regulation win over the Ottawa Senators on Monday night. A pair of even-strength goals by Stephen Weiss and power play tallies by Gustav Nyquist and Ryan Sheahan staked the Wings to a 4-1 lead that was sufficient to withstand a third-period run by the Senators. Jimmy Howard (23 saves) got the win in goal.
Entering this game, Henrik Zetterberg (four goals, 14 assists) leads the Wings in overall scoring with 18 points. Nyquist leads the team in goal-scoring with 10 tallies.
On the injury front, Pavel Datsyuk, who has been limited to 10 games this season, is day-to-day with a groin pull. Defenseman Brendan Smith (hand infection) hopes to return soon from a surgical procedure to clean out an infection incurred in a fight with Columbus’ Nick Foligno. Backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Key team stat comparisons (NHL overall ranking)
Non-shootout goals per game: Flyers 2.95 (T-9th), Red Wings 2.81 (11th)
Non-shootout goals against per game: Flyers 2.90 (22nd), Red Wings 2.33 (9th)
Even strength Goals For/Against Ratio: Flyers 1.00 (17th), Red Wings 1.12 (11th)
Power play efficiency: Flyers 22.9% (7th), Red Wings 19.8% (T-12th)
Penalty killing efficiency: Flyers 73.1% (30th), Red Wings 89.3% (2nd)
Faceoff percentage: Flyers 50.9% (T-11th), Red Wings 53.5% (2nd) Projected lineups (Subject to change, will be updated)
10 Brayden Schenn – 28 Claude Giroux – 93 Jakub Voracek
24 Matt Read – 14 Sean Couturier – 17 Wayne Simmonds
18 R.J. Umberger – 49 Scott Laughton – 40 Vincent Lecavalier
36 Zac Rinaldo – 78 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – xxx
5 Braydon Coburn – 55 Nick Schultz
8 Nicklas Grossmann – 32 Mark Streit
15 Michael Del Zotto – 47 Andrew MacDonald
xxx – 22 Luke Schenn
35 Steve Mason
[29 Ray Emery]
Scratches: Jason Akeson (healthy), Carlo Colaiacovo (healthy), Michael Raffl (right foot, day-to-day), Chris VandeVelde (lower body, doubtful).
14 Gustav Nyquist – 40 Henrik Zetterberg – 8 Justin Abdelkader
21 Tomas Tatar – 15 Riley Sheahan – 93 Johan Franzen
90 Stephen Weiss – 43 Darren Helm – 26 Tomas Jurco
20 Drew Miller – 41 Luke Glendening – 18 Joakim Andersson
55 Niklas Kronwall – 52 Jonathan Ericsson
27 Kyle Quincey – 65 Dan DeKeyser
4 Jakub Kindl – 61 Xavier Ouellet
35 Jimmy Howard
[34 Petr Mrazek]
Scratches: Pavel Datsyuk (groin), Brendan Smith (hand), Jonas Gustavsson (shoulder), Daniel Cleary (healthy),