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Detroit Red Wings (23-18-11) @ Philadelphia Flyers (25-22-6), 7:00pm, CSN-Philly/FS-D
Looking to end a four-game losing streak, the Philadelphia Flyers will host the Detroit Red Wings tonight in one of the more crucial games before the Olympic break. With upcoming games against the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and Colorado Avalanche, tonight's game against the Red Wings and the final game before the break against the Calgary Flames are the Flyers' "easiest" games before players leave for Sochi.
The Orange and Black have gone 2-5-2 over their last nine games and haven't provided a convincing win for nearly three weeks. After being dominated by the Boston Bruins in a 6-1 defeat on Saturday, Craig Berube sent a message to his team by forcing them into a difficult practice before they took part in the Flyers Wives Carnival on Sunday.
The fact the Flyers should come out hungry and angry tonight paired with the injuries to Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg means Philly could be in line for two points. However, with the way the Flyers have been playing, nothing is certain at the moment. Also helping the Flyers is the fact the Red Wings will have Jonas Gustavsson in net tonight rather than Jimmy Howard. To go along with Detroit’s injuries, Scott Hartnell will be in tonight's game despite leaving the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday with a walking boot.
To go along with the importance of this game in terms of momentum for the Flyers, tonight's tilt can put the struggling squad back into a playoff position. The Orange and Black can grab the third spot in the Metropolitan Division with a win paired with a regulation loss from the Carolina Hurricanes and any kind of loss from the Columbus Blue Jackets. With a regulation win and any kind of loss from Columbus, Philadelphia can grab the second wild card spot regardless of what the Hurricanes do tonight. For how bad things have been recently for Berube's group, regaining a playoff spot might be a perfect source of confidence at a time the team needs it most.
As for the play on the ice, the Flyers defense needs to step up and the whole team needs to quit taking as many penalties.
Steve Mason has been pulled in two of his three starts since signing his extension, but it hasn't been all his fault. Ray Emery found himself helpless in the third period of the New York Islanders' comeback win on Monday and the entire game against the Blue Jackets on Thursday. Philly has allowed 32 shots against or more in six of their last nine games, as the Flyers have allowed 37 goals against in those nine games as well.
As for the penalties, the Flyers have allowed four power-play goals against in their last two games while giving the opposition 12 power-play chances in that span. In their last eight games, the Orange and Black have allowed nine power-play goals against. It sounds like the penalty kill may be the problem, but considering Philly has been shorthanded 41 times over the last eight games, it seems as though discipline is more of the problem.
After tonight, the Orange and Black head to the West Coast for a three-game road trip against the Ducks, Kings, and Sharks. At this point in time, not too many Flyers fans would say this team is coming back from that trip with a point let alone a win or two. However, a win in convincing fashion tonight might make the team and their supporters a bit more optimistic.
Detroit Red Wings
Against the Eastern Conference: 14-9-8
Against the Metropolitan Division: 6-4-3
Against the Eastern Conference: 17-15-4
Against the Atlantic Division: 8-7-1
Detroit Red Wings
Gustav Nyquist – Joakim Andersson – Justin Abdelkader
Tomas Jurco – Riley Sheahan – Tomas Tatar
Daniel Cleary – Darren Helm – Daniel Alfredsson
Drew Miller- Luke Glendening – Patrick Eaves
Niklas Kronwall – Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey – Danny DeKeyser
Brian Lashoff – Brendan Smith
Scott Hartnell – Claude Giroux- Jakub Voracek
Vincent Lecavalier – Brayden Schenn – Wayne Simmonds
Steve Downie – Sean Couturier – Matt Read
Michael Raffl – Chris VandeVelde – Adam Hall
Kimmo Timonen – Braydon Coburn
Mark Streit – Nicklas Grossmann
Luke Schenn – Erik Gustafsson
Detroit Red Wings
Goals: Henrik Zetterberg, 16
Assists: Henrik Zetterberg, 28
Points: Henrik Zetterberg, 44
Power-Play Points: Henrik Zetterberg, 16
Plus/Minus: Henrik Zetterberg, plus-19
PIMs: Kyle Quincey, 64
Average TOI: Niklas Kronwall, 24:12
GAA: Jonas Gustavsson, 2.47
Save Percentage: Jimmy Howard, .918
Goals: Wayne Simmonds, 17
Assists: Claude Giroux, 32
Points: Claude Giroux, 47
Power-Play Points: Claude Giroux, 21
Plus/Minus: Brayden Schenn, Scott Hartnell, Kimmo Timonen, Erik Gustafsson - plus-4
PIMs: Zac Rinaldo, 101
Average TOI: Braydon Coburn, 22:38
GAA: Steve Mason, 2.64
Save Percentage: Steve Mason, .913
Detroit Red Wings
Pavel Datsyuk – Lower-body injury (Injured Reserve)
Cory Emmerton – Finger Injury (Injured Reserve)
Stephen Weiss – Groin (Injured Reserve)
Henrik Zetterberg – Back (day-to-day)
Zac Rinaldo – Left ankle injury (Injured Reserve)
Former Red Wings in Philadelphia’s organization
With Philadelphia: NONE
With the Adirondack Phantoms (AHL): Kris Newbury, Terry Murray (Head Coach)
With the Greenville Road Warriors (ECHL): NONE
Former Flyers in Detroit’s organization
With Detroit: NONE
With the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL): Triston Grant
With the Toledo Walleye (ECHL): Brett Perlini (Greenville Road Warriors)