Following their only loss on their six-game road swing Thursday, the Flyers head to Glendale, Az. tonight to face the Phoenix Coyotes in the penultimate game of the trip.
This will be the second and final game between the Flyers and Coyotes, as they last met Oct. 11 at Wells Fargo Center. Thomas Greiss stole the show for the Coyotes with 36 saves on 37 shots, while Max Talbot scored his last goal as a Flyer.
Radim Vrbata and Mike Ribeiro share the Coyotes’ lead with 29 points apiece. Veterans Antoine Vermette and Shane Doan lead the Coyotes in goals with 12 apiece, while Vrbata, Mikkel Boedker and Martin Hanzal each have 11.
Doan is slated to return to the ice against the Flyers after missing the past 12 games with Rocky Mountain Fever – a bacterial disease affecting the lining of blood cells.
The Coyotes feature one of the NHL’s premier defensive pairings in Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Yandle’s 27 points lead all Coyote blueliners, while Ekman’s 24:39 minutes of ice time per game leads the team.
However, Ekman-Larsson is questionable after a hit sustained in the first period Thursday forced him to leave the game. He’s a game-time decision, and losing him would provide a considerable break for the Flyers’ offense.
The Flyers also saw a critical injury Thursday, as Michael Raffl left in the first period with a concussion and has been ruled out against the Coyotes. Matt Read -- who missed Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury -- is out as well.
Mike Smith, with a 15-9-8 record and 2.86 GAA, is likely to make the start in goal for the Coyotes while the Flyers will counter with Steve Mason, who boasts a 16-10-4 record and 2.37 GAA.
Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds look to generate the offense for the Flyers, with the latter being the only Flyer to score against Denver for his seventh goal in five games.
The Coyotes enter the game with a 20-11-9 record, good enough for fifth place in the Pacific Division. The Flyers come in at 20-17-4 with 44 points, and have a chance to tie Washington for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
- Power Play: Flyers 18th (17.6 percent)/fifth on road (23.4 percent); Coyotes 10th (19.0 percent)/sixth at home (23.4 percent)
- Penalty Kill: Flyers 10th (83.5 percent)/15th on road (82.6 percent); Coyotes 26th (78.3 percent)/28th at home (75.0 percent)
- The Flyers are 13-9-0-1 all-time against the Coyotes, last beating them on the road on Dec. 3, 2011.
- Milestone Watch: Steve Downie is one assist away from 100 in his career. Vincent Lecavalier is three assists away from 500 in his career.
Flyers scratches: Michael Raffl, Erik Gustafsson, Hal Gill, Matt Read
Flyers projected lineup:
Line 1: Steve Downie-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek
Line 2: Scott Hartnell-Brayden Schenn-Wayne Simmonds
Line 3: Vincent Lecavalier-Sean Couturier-Zac Rinaldo
Line 4: Jay Rosehill-Chris VandeVelde-Adam Hall
D-Pair 1: Kimmo Timonen-Braydon Coburn
D-Pair 2: Nicklas Grossman-Mark Streit
D-Pair 3: Luke Schenn-Andrej Meszaros
Goalie: Steve Mason
Where to watch:
Radio: 93.3 WMMR