Flyers (5-4-0, 10 PTS) @ Senators (4-1-4, 12 PTS)
After stumbling mightily against the Anaheim Ducks, the Philadelphia Flyers will look to find their footing again in Thursday’s game against the Ottawa Senators on the road. The Flyers struggled with the Ducks’ speed and were outmatched size-wise, Tuesday in their 6-2 loss, but the worst moment of the Philly night came in the first period when Nolan Patrick’s head hit the glass on a clean hit.
The rookie left the game and didn’t return, but participated in practice Wednesday and will play tonight. However, Wayne Simmonds could be missing after needing his ankle “evaluated” yesterday.
For the Senators, most chalked up their surprising playoff run last season to hot goaltending, a trap defense and an easy path to the Eastern Conference Finals. Most had them missing the postseason this year, but they’re off to a strong start with a 4-1-4 record and sit third in the Atlantic Division. Ottawa isn’t as big as the Ducks, but with Erik Karlsson, can play a quick-tempo game. More often, though, the team likes to suppress opposition’s offense.
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Puck Drop: 7:30 P.M.
LINE COMBINATIONS (Courtesy of Daily Faceoff)
Philadelphia: Flyers Line Combinations
The Flyers’ roster will be up in the air a bit with Simmonds’ injury. If the alternate captain can’t play, Matt Read took his spot in practice, but a better offensive player like Travis Konecny or Michael Raffl makes more sense on the second line. Coach Dave Hakstol confirmed Taylor Leier was a healthy scratch Tuesday, making it likely Dale Weise is on the fourth line again. The Philadelphia blueline will be different again (more on that later) and Michael Neuvirth rightfully gets the start in net.
Giroux – Couturier – Voracek
Weal – Filppula – Simmonds/Read
Lehtera – Patrick – Konecny
Weise – Laughton – Raffl
Provorov – Gostisbehere
Sanheim – Hagg
Manning – Gudas
Ottawa: Senators Line Combinations
The Senators will be without Kyle Turris tonight due to the flu, Zack Smith is also recovering from an injury and prospect Logan Brown was returned to the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL Wednesday. That leaves a guessing game for the lineup after Jack Rodewald and Filip Chlapik were recalled Wednesday. Either way, the Sens’ lineup won’t be in its prime. However, the defense is healthy and Craig Anderson, who has three of Ottawa’s four wins, will be in net.
Burrows – Brassard – Stone
Thomspon – Pageau – Dzingel
Hoffman – Chlapik – Pyatt
DiDomenico – Rodewald – Borowiecki
Phaneuf – Ceci
Claesson – Wideman
Three Storylines to watch
For the second game in a row, the Flyers will have new pairings on defense. Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov, a longtime Philadelphia dream, will play together, rookies Travis Sanheim and Robert Hagg are paired and Radko Gudas and Brandon Manning round out the blueline. The latter pair had a rough outing in the season opener and the first two pairings are a far cry from Dave Hakstol’s usual mantra of experience, but should bring a nice blend of defense and offense.
The Flyers played easily their worst game of the season Tuesday. With three rookies playing, it will be interesting to see how they respond after such a terrible night. Besides them, Travis Konecny had one of his worst games in a Flyers’ uniform against the Ducks and the team could be without one of its most vocal leaders in Simmonds.
Of late, the Senators have not been a high-scoring team, but to start the year, it seems like they’ve had a bit of a personality change. They’ve averaged 3.44 goals per game and Derick Brassard leads the team with 10 points in 9 games. Mark Stone has nine and four others have at least six, which includes Erik Karlsson who has six assists in four games.