Game 28 Preview: Philadelphia Flyers @ Detroit Red Wings

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Philadelphia Flyers (12-13-2) @ Detroit Red Wings (14-7-7), 8:00pm, NBCSN

After suffering an offensively embarrassing loss on Monday and running into problems the team had earlier in the season, the Philadelphia Flyers hope to return to the win column tonight on the road against the Detroit Red Wings. Philly has won two of their last three, but the last two games haven’t been pretty for the Orange and Black, as they’ve failed to create many scoring chances. Hopefully for the Flyers and their faithful a mix of desperation and injuries can lead to two points.

The team responded well on Friday after they lost a pair of games in Florida to the Panthers and Lightning, so if they come out firing today against a Red Wings team that doesn’t have either Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg in the lineup things should work out. However, the Flyers won’t have Vincent Lecavalier playing, as Michael Raffl will be playing alongside Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds again on the second line. It doesn’t help the Flyers’ goal scoring problems when their leading goal scorer won’t be dressed, but it will help the team knowing Steve Mason is back in net. No game will be easy for the Orange and Black this season regardless of injuries and this shouldn’t be any different, as the Wings enter the match on a four-game winning streak.

The Flyers haven’t looked too strong away from home lately, as they’ve lost four of their last five away from the Wells Fargo Center with the lone win coming on Saturday when Mason stole a shootout win for Philly against the Nashville Predators. It’s the third game in the middle of a six-game road trip and the team looks to possibly be fighting confidence issues in terms of finding the back of the net. Craig Berube attempted to shake things up a little bit on Monday by putting Steve Downie with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell for a few shifts, but it didn’t do much overall.

One also has to wonder what has been going on with Jakub Voracek. Granted he was robbed point blank by Josh Harding on Monday for the Flyers’ best scoring chance, but Voracek hasn’t recorded a point in five straight games and hasn’t found the back of the net for 10 straight tilts. The forward started slowly last year before turning it on to finish with an amazing point total, but there has to be some concern as to whether or not the forward will duplicate those actions. If Voracek was to start producing points in bunches and it helped to make the top line threatening, this team could be scary.

On the blue line, it will be interesting to see what type of game Andrej Meszaros produces. After he made a magnificent pinch and pass to Sean Couturier for the game-tying goal on Saturday, Meszaros had a strong game against the Minnesota Wild. Currently, he deserves to be out on the ice more than Erik Gustafsson. If he continues to play well, the Flyers could potentially find a long-awaited trading partner for the defenseman.

With road games coming up against the Dallas Stars, who beat the Chicago Blackhawks last night, and the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Flyers would like to come away with at least one point in what looks to be the least difficult contest of the three games.

RECORDS
Philadelphia Flyers
Overall: 12-13-2
Road: 5-6-2
Against the Eastern Conference: 9-9-1
Against the Atlantic Division: 5-4-1

Detroit Red Wings
Overall: 14-7-7
Home: 5-4-6
Against the Eastern Conference: 10-3-4
Against the Metropolitan Division: 5-0-3

PROJECTED LINEUPS
Philadelphia Flyers
Scott Hartnell – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek
Michael Raffl – Brayden Schenn – Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read – Sean Couturier – Steve Downie
Jay Rosehill – Adam Hall – Zac Rinaldo

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

Steve Mason
Ray Emery

Detroit Red Wings
Gustav Nyquist – Johan Franzen – Stephen Weiss
Justin Abdelkader – Darren Helm – Daniel Alfredsson
Drew Miller – Joakim Andersson – Tomas Tatar
Daniel Cleary – Cory Emmerton – Mikael Samuelsson

Niklas Kronwall – Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey – Brendan Smith
Jakub Kindl – Brian Lashoff

Jimmy Howard
Jonas Gustavsson

TEAM LEADERS
Philadelphia Flyers
Goals: Vincent Lecavalier, 9
Assists: Claude Giroux, 14
Points: Claude Giroux, 18
Power-Play Points: Claude Giroux, 9
Plus/Minus: Sean Couturier, plus-7
PIMs: Zac Rinaldo, 48
Average TOI: Braydon Coburn, 22:41
GAA: Steve Mason, 2.09
Save Percentage: Steve Mason, .934

Detroit Red Wings
Goals: Pavel Datsyuk, 12
Assists: Henrik Zetterberg, 19
Points: Henrik Zetterberg, 30
Power-Play Points: Henrik Zetterberg, 11
Plus/Minus: Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall, plus-12
PIMs: Brendan Smith, 30
Average TOI: Niklas Kronwall, 23:46
GAA: Jonas Gustavsson, 2.16
Save Percentage: Jonas Gustavsson, .929

INJURIES
Philadelphia Flyers
Vincent Lecavalier – Back spasms (day-to-day)

Detroit Red Wings
Pavel Datsyuk – Head injury (day-to-day)
Todd Bertuzzi – Shoulder injury (day-to-day)
Henrik Zetterberg – Herniated disc (two weeks)
Danny DeKeyser – Separated left shoulder (Injured Reserve)

FORMER PLAYERS
Former Flyers in Detroit’s organization
With Detroit: NONE
With the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL): Triston Grant
With the Toledo Walleye (ECHL): NONE

Former Red Wings in Philadelphia’s organization
With Philadelphia: NONE
With the Adirondack Phantoms (AHL): Kris Newbury
With the Greenville Road Warriors (ECHL): Bretton Stamler (Detroit’s seventh-round pick in 2005 NHL Entry Draft)