Game 26 Preview: Philadelphia Flyers @ Nashville Predators

Image courtesy of washingtonpost.com

Philadelphia Flyers (11-12-2) @ Nashville Predators (13-11-2), 8:00pm, CSN-Philly, FS-TN

The Philadelphia Flyers look to open their six-game road trip with their second straight win tonight in Nashville against the Predators. The Orange and Black enter the game only winning one of their last three, but they’ve won four of their last six. The Preds enter the game winning two of their last three, but they were shut out by Ilya Bryzgalov in their most recent game, which was a 3-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. They enter tonight’s game without a goal in their last 77:58 of competition.

The tilt will most likely be a low-scoring affair, as the Flyers will be putting Steve Mason in net and Nashville will put Marek Mazanec between the pipes. Mason hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any start this season, while Mazanec hasn’t allowed more than two goals against in his last seven starts. Mazanec has also posted two shutouts in that span, as he has done a nice job filling in for Pekka Rinne.

Philly will be fortunate in the fact they won’t be playing Shea Weber tonight, as the elite defenseman took a puck to the face on Thursday and is expected to miss at least a few games. Not only does the blue liner average over 26 minutes of ice time per game, he also leads Nashville in scoring with seven goals. In his absence, it seems as though Roman Josi will join Seth Jones on the top pair.

Due to their style of play, it’s always important for the Flyers to score the game’s first goal. Tonight, however, it might be even more important as both teams boast impressive records when scoring first and horrible records when trailing first. When the Flyers score first, they are 10-3-1, but when they allow the game’s first goal they are 1-9-1. The Predators are 11-1-2 when they pot the game’s first goal, but they are 2-10-0 when they see the other team score first.

Sean Couturier had another strong game yesterday against the Jets, as he scored a shorthanded goal and nearly converted on another bid down a man. Couturier was also plus-1 with six shots on goal. The line of Matt Read-Couturier-Steve Downie has been amazing for the Flyers in recent games and if the team wants to provide another defensive, low-scoring game.

RECORDS
Philadelphia Flyers
Overall: 11-12-2
Road: 4-5-2
Against the Western Conference: 2-3-1
Against the Central Division: 1-0-1

Nashville Predators
Overall: 13-11-2
Home: 6-4-1
Against the Eastern Conference: 6-5-0
Against the Metropolitan Division: 2-4-0

PROJECTED LINEUPS
Philadelphia Flyers

Scott Hartnell – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek
Brayden Schenn – Vincent Lecavalier – Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read – Sean Couturier – Steve Downie
Michael Raffl – Adam Hall – Zac Rinaldo

Kimmo Timonen – Braydon Coburn
Nicklas Grossmann – Mark Streit
Luke Schenn – Andrej Meszaros

Steve Mason
Ray Emery

Nashville Predators
Colin Wilson – Mike Fisher – Eric Nystrom
Gabriel Bourque – David Legwand – Viktor Stalberg
Nick Spaling – Matt Cullen – Craig Smith
Richard Clune – Paul Gaustad – Matt Hendricks

Seth Jones – Roman Josi
Victor Bartley – Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm – Joe Piskula

Marek Mazanec
Carter Hutton

TEAM LEADERS
Philadelphia Flyers
Goals: Vincent Lecavalier, 9
Assists: Claude Giroux, 14
Points: Claude Giroux, 17
Power-Play Points: Claude Giroux, 9
Plus/Minus: Steve Downie, plus-7
PIMs: Zac Rinaldo, 48
Average TOI: Braydon Coburn, 22:42
GAA: Steve Mason, 2.10
Save Percentage: Steve Mason, .933

Nashville Predators
Goals: Shea Weber, 7
Assists: David Legwand, 15
Points: David Legwand, 20
Power-Play Points: Shea Weber and David Legwand, 8
Plus/Minus: Ryan Ellis, plus-5
PIMs: Richard Clune, 60
Average TOI: Shea Weber, 26:09
GAA: Marek Mazanec, 2.01
Save Percentage: Marek Mazanec, .934

INJURIES
Philadelphia Flyers
NONE

Nashville Predators
Shea Weber – Facial laceration (day-to-day)
Patric Hornqvist – Upper-body injury (day-to-day)
Kevin Klein – Undisclosed (out)
Pekka Rinne – Hip (Injured Reserve)
Filip Forsberg – Upper-body injury (Injured Reserve)

FORMER PLAYERS
Former Flyers in Nashville’s organization
With Nashville: Carter Hutton (Adirondack Phantoms)
With the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL)
: Scott Ford (Trenton Titans)
With the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL): Michael Houser (Flyers’ training camp), Chris Zaires (Trenton Titans)

Former Predators in Philadelphia’s organization
With Philadelphia
: Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell, Adam Hall, Hal Gill
With the Adirondack Phantoms (AHL)
: Cullen Eddy (Cincinnati Cyclones)
With the Greenville Road Warriors (ECHL)
: Dean Stork, head coach (Cincinnati Cyclones), Dwayne Zinger, assistant coach (Cincinnati Cyclones)