Flyers (8-9-4, 20 PTS) at Islanders (11-7-2, 24 PTS)
For the first time since the middle of October, the Philadelphia Flyers will face a Metropolitan Division opponent as they travel to Brooklyn to take on the New York Islanders in the first game of a home-and-home.
Philly will look for a much better outing than it had Tuesday night as they fell 5-2 to the Vancouver Canucks. The Flyers started the game with plenty of offensive pressure and even got the first goal off of Ivan Provorov, his second in as many games. However, in the second stanza, the team got lazy, struggled on special teams and seemed to accept the coming loss. Brian Elliott is likely to get the start after replacing Michal Neuvirth last night.
The team will also have some new faces in the lineup. Danick Martel and Sam Morin were recalled Wednesday morning and figure to slot into the lineup. Mark Alt and Matt Read were sent down in a corresponding move.
The Islanders lost their last game, 4-2 against the Carolina Hurricanes, but won the three before that. They’ve also had two days of rest compared to the Flyers’ quick turnaround. New York’s offense has been one of the best in the league this year. It’s 73 goals ranks fourth in the NHL and their power play is clicking at 20.29 percent.
WATCH / LISTEN / FACE-OFF
LISTEN: 97.5 THE FANATIC
PUCK DROP: 7:00 P.M.
LINE COMBINATIONS (Courtesy of Daily Faceoff)
Philadelphia: Flyers Line Combinations
These lines were the ones the team started with last night against the Canucks. By the end of the second period, coach Dave Hakstol was already shuffling them around. Then, Martel and Morin were recalled this morning. Lines have not been announced yet, but general manager Ron Hextall wouldn’t call up the pair without having them played. They’ll be somewhere in the lineup.
Giroux – Couturier – Voracek
Weal -Patrick – Simmonds
Raffl – Filppula – Konecny
Leier – Laughton – Martel?
Provorov – Hagg
Manning – Gostisbehere
Sanheim – Morin
New York: Islanders Line Combinations
The Islanders will have a healthy lineup Wednesday night. Just Nikolay Kulemin, a bottom-six forward and sometimes healthy scratch, will miss the game. However, according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple, the Isles will make some lineup changes. Former Flyer Dennis Seidenberg and his d-partner Scott Mayfield are in and Cal Clutterbuck will draw in on offense after recovering from an illness. Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey and Alan Quine all sit for the Isles.
Lee – Tavares – Bailey
Ladd – Barzal – Eberle
Nelson – Beauvillar – Ho-Sang
Chimera – Czikas – Clutterbuck
Leddy – Boychuk
De Haan – Pelech
Seidenberg – Mayfield
Three Storylines to Watch
The Flyers are used to playing a one-line, and sometimes one-man, Islanders with just John Tavares as a threat. That’s changed this year. Josh Bailey has bust out this year with 23 points in 20 games. Linemate Anders Lee is also over a point-per-game, but it’s the second line that’s adding another punch. Calder Trophy candidate Matthew Barzal has 19 points in 20 games and newcomer Jordan Eberle has 14.
The last time the Flyers played against a Metropolitan Division team, they shellacked the Washington Capitals for an 8-2 win. It feels like a long time ago as the team has struggled to keep just a .500 mark in the month since. But that was against mostly Western Conference teams. The time is now for Philly to turn things around as it shifts to a more Eastern Conference schedule where the games count more.
Fans finally got their wish with Martel and Morin recalled — now it’s up to coach Dave Hakstol to insert them for the right players. He’s safe there with Morin since Alt was demoted, but it’d be wrong if Jordan Weal, who made a bad turnover for a Canucks goal last night, sits instead of Jori Lehtera. Either way, this is a huge opportunity for both, but especially for Martel, who even this past summer never looked like an NHL player.