Game 43 Preview: Philadelphia Flyers @ New Jersey Devils

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Philadelphia Flyers (21-17-4) @ New Jersey Devils (17-18-8), 7:30pm, NBCSN/TCN-PH, TSN2, RDS2

The story of tonight’s game was going to be about Ray Emery in net to close out the Philadelphia Flyers’ road trip with the return of Michael Raffl to the lineup. Now, the focus has shifted to Claude Giroux being snubbed by Team Canada for the 2014 Olympics.

With a few questionable names on the Canadian roster, including former Flyer Jeff Carter, one has to think Giroux isn’t too happy about Steve Yzerman’s decision. In terms of how the decision impacts the Flyers, it should be all positive. Giroux will not have the possibility of being injured outside of the NHL season and he should be motivated to prove that Team Canada made the wrong decision. With the most points for any Canadian player over the last three years, it’s hard to argue they didn’t.

In addition to Giroux’s new found drive going into tonight, the captain will be reunited with Raffl, who missed Saturday’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes. With the second line of Scott Hartnell, Brayden Schenn, and Wayne Simmonds playing well lately, Raffl’s return to the top line with Giroux and Jakub Voracek should just mean the Flyers offense becomes that much more dangerous.

Although Raffl is back, Matt Read is still out, meaning the bottom six of Philly will still be a little messy. It’s becoming more and more evident Read’s upper-body injury is possibly a concussion, which wouldn’t bode well for the Orange and Black. The top tier players are hot right now for Philadelphia, but the team needs the two-way play of Read and the line of Sean Couturier, Steve Downie, and Read to reunite, as the line is one of the team’s most impactful units this year.

As for the goaltending, it’s a battle of the backups, as Emery takes on Martin Brodeur. It’s never an easy task taking on Brodeur, as the ageless wonder recorded yet another shutout against the Orange and Black. However, that was the ‘old’ Flyers’ club, the one that struggled to score two goals a night and had 4 wins in 15 games. Tonight, Philly looks to go over a .500 winning percentage for the first time this year. Emery, who allowed one goal against the Calgary Flames on New Year’s Eve, will need to be strong again.

RECORDS
Philadelphia Flyers
Overall: 21-17-4
Away: 10-10-4
Against the Eastern Conference: 13-10-3
Against the Metropolitan Division: 7-5-2

New Jersey Devils
Overall: 17-18-8
Home: 8-6-5
Against the Eastern Conference: 14-10-4
Against the Metropolitan Division: 9-6-2

PROJECTED LINEUPS
Philadelphia Flyers
Michael Raffl – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek
Scott Hartnell – Brayden Schenn – Wayne Simmonds
Zac Rinaldo – Sean Couturier – Vincent Lecavalier
Steve Downie – Chris VandeVelde – Adam Hall

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

Ray Emery
Steve Mason

New Jersey Devils
Dainius Zubrus – Travis Zajac – Jaromir Jagr
Ryane Clowe – Adam Henrique – Michael Ryder
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier
Reid Boucher – Andrei Loktionov – Mike Sislo

Andy Greene – Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador – Anton Volchenkov
Jon Merrill – Marek Zidlicky

Martin Brodeur
Cory Schneider

TEAM LEADERS
Philadelphia Flyers
Goals: Wayne Simmonds, 14
Assists: Claude Giroux, 26
Points: Claude Giroux, 38
Power-Play Points: Claude Giroux, 16
Plus/Minus: Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen, plus-5
PIMs: Zac Rinaldo, 96
Average TOI: Braydon Coburn, 22:53
GAA: Steve Mason, 2.39
Save Percentage: Steve Mason, .922

New Jersey Devils
Goals: Jaromir Jagr and Michael Ryder, 13
Assists: Jaromir Jagr, 21
Points: Jaromir Jagr, 34
Power-Play Points: Andy Greene and Eric Gelinas, 10
Plus/Minus: Jaromir Jagr, plus-11
PIMs: Marek Zidlicky, 42
Average TOI: Andy Greene, 24:52
GAA: Cory Schneider, 2.13
Save Percentage: Cory Schneider, .914

INJURIES
Philadelphia Flyers
Erik Gustafsson – Knee (out)
Matt Read – Upper-body injury (day-to-day)

New Jersey Devils
Patrik Elias – Upper-body injury (Injured Reserve)
Adam Larsson – Lower-body injury (day-to-day)
Damien Brunner – Knee (out)
Peter Harrold – Foot (out)

FORMER PLAYERS
Former Devils in Philadelphia’s organization
With Philadelphia: NONE
With the Adirondack Phantoms (AHL): Yann Danis
With the Greenville Road Warriors (ECHL): Paul Arnott (Elmira Jackals), Andrew Rowe (Elmira Jackals)

Former Flyers in New Jersey’s organization
With New Jersey: Jaromir Jagr, Dainius Zubrus, Bob Hoffmeyer (Pro Scout)
With the Albany Devils (AHL): Scott Wedgewood (Trenton Titans), Chris McKelvie (Trenton Titans), Harry Young (Trenton Titans), Kelly Zajac (Trenton Titans), Rick Kowalsky, head coach (Trenton Titans), Dave Caruso, goalie coach (Trenton Titans).
With the Elmira Jackals (ECHL): Maxim Lamarche (Adirondack Phantoms), Rob Bellamy (Flyers’ 2004 draft pick), Jean Bourbeau (Adirondack Phantoms), Danny Hobbs (Greenville Road Warriors), Jordan Pietrus (Trenton Titans)