Flyers (8-7-2, 18 PTS) @ Wild (7-7-2, 16 PTS)
Previous Meeting: 11/11/2017, MIN 1 @ PHI 0
Days after meeting in Philadelphia, these two teams took the flight to west to Minnesota as they prepare for Tuesday night’s showdown. This home and home series signals the end of the season series for the Flyers and the Wild, as Philadelphia will look to end the season .500 against the Western Conference foe. Minnesota picked up the victory on Saturday behind stellar goalkeeping and a third period goal from NHL.com’s first star of the week, Jason Zucker.
WATCH / LISTEN / FACE-OFF
LISTEN: 97.5 THE FANATIC
PUCK DROP: 8:00 P.M.
LINE COMBINATIONS (Courtesy of Daily Faceoff)
Philadelphia: Flyers Line Combinations
Yesterday, Coach Dave Hakstol decided it was time to shuffle the lines a tad in hopes to find a spark for a team that’s been having trouble scoring lately. Jordan Weal now finds himself centering a line with Dale Weise and Wayne Simmonds. Travis Konecny is arguably getting the short end of the stick by being placed on a line with Jori Lehtera and Valtteri Flippula. Nolan Patrick is nearing closer and closer to returning to the ice, he took part in the teams optional skate today but is not expected to suit up until Thursday. The rookie will be a big addition to the team when he returns.
Tonight will be Elliott’s third consecutive start for the Flyers, and he’s 1-1 in that span with a 3-1 victory over Chicago and the 1-0 less to the Wild. Over his career, Elliot has posted good numbers against Minnesota as he has a 9-3 record with a 1.98 GAA and a .919 SV%.
Minnesota: Wild Line Combinations
I wouldn’t expect Minnesota to change anything after grinding out a hard fought win the other night. They stifled the Flyers offense all night long and will certainly look to repeat that performance tonight.
Minnesota’s #1 is expected to be given the nod again tonight, as he looks to extend his current shutout streak which stands at 135 minutes going into the game. Like Elliot, he has put up decent numbers over his career against the Flyers despite having a losing record of 3-5-1 against them. He owns a 2.34 GAA and a .927 SV% in 9 career games.
THREE STORYLINES TO WATCH
Obviously, the biggest key for the Flyers is shutting down winger Jason Zucker. He burned them Saturday night and has been a key cog offensively for the Wild. He’s scored their last six goals, so if they’re able to shut him down they should feel good about their chances tonight.
Philadelphia has been shut out 4 times already in just 17 games, and they need scoring help. The first line has been outstanding all year but they need more than just three players contributing to the cause. They’ve been hit by the injury bug a bit but there’s no reason to use that as an excuse. I’d like to see the offensive defenseman they have on the roster activate a bit more and try to create more chances, but you have to weigh that against the possible risk of getting burned on the other end as well.
Speaking of defenseman, Andrew MacDonald made the trip with the team and is expected to skate for the first time since his injury in the coming days. He aims to return to the lineup in a week, but we’ll have to see how his rehab goes over the next several days.