Game 8 Preview: Flyers bid for 1st home win of season against Red Wings

Jake Voracek and the Flyers go for their first home win of the season against the Red Wings on Saturday. (Photo by Amy Irvin/38Photography)
The Flyers first win of the season in Dallas a week ago should have given them momentum heading into Chicago. It didn't. But the Flyers did rally the next day for a win in Pittsburgh.
So following their second win of the season, it will be interesting to see how the Flyers respond to another tough opponent. 

This time, the Flyers return home and face the Detroit Red Wings at Wells Fargo Center. The opening face-off is set for 7 p.m.

The Flyers are a battered team. They are already without Braydon Coburn – now out four weeks instead of possibly returning to action tonight – and Vincent Lecavalier. On Friday, more bad news came the Flyers way as Zac Rinaldo is out for Saturday's game and Andrew MacDonald is out for four weeks as well.

Enter Shayne Gostisbehere, the top prospect that has been the talk of the organization. After just five career games in the pros with the Phantoms, Gostisbehere makes his way to the NHL, debuting on Saturday night.

The Flyers top pair defensively is currently Mark Streit and Nick Grossmann. Gostisbehere figures to fall into a pairing with Nick Schultz while the pair of Luke Schenn and Michael Del Zotto stays intact.

Offensively, the Flyers third line was the best on Wednesday, with three goals coming between Matt Read, Sean Couturier and R.J. Umberger

The Flyers top line has been in the mix for scoring chances, but has not actually scored a goal since Claude Giroux's overtime game-winner a week ago.

In goal, after much debate, the Flyers will go with Ray Emery. Emery has both wins this season, including one in relief of Steve Mason last Saturday, for the Flyers, posting a 2-0-1 with a 2.84 GAA and .897 save percentage.

The Red Wings come in as a hot team, sitting at 4-1-2 on the season with wins in three of their last four games. Their dramatic, 4-3 come-from-behind win on Thursday against the Penguins sets the stage for Saturday. Justin Abdelkader scored the game-winning goal in overtime, his third of the season.

Obviously, the Red Wings come with dangerous players on offense. There is none more important than Pavel Datsyuk. He missed most of the early portion of the season with an injury, but returned to the lineup this week. He is still in search of his first goal of the season and has two assists.

Henrik Zetterberg has been solid this season. The Detroit captain has three goals and leads the team wtih 10 points and seven assists. Gustav Nyquist leads the team with four goals. 

Niklas Kronwall leads the defense as an offensive presence. He scored twice on Thursday and has six points already this season. Jonathan Ericsson and Jakub Kindl round out the blue line for the Red Wings.

Detroit has been excellent defensively, especially on the penalty kill. They are the only remaining team that has yet to allow a power-play goal to their opponent. Ironically, the Flyers, while 27th overall in penalty kill, are also one of four teams to not allow a power-play goal at home. 

The Red Wings come into Philadelphia winless since 1997, when they won both games in Philly in the Stanley Cup Final.

In goal for Detroit will be Jonas Gustavsson. Gustavsson makes just his second start of the season. In his first, he picked up the win, making 30 saves in a shutout against the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (5th, 3rd at home), Red Wings (27th, T-25th on road) 
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (27th, T-1st at home), Red Wings (1st, T-1st on road) 
  • The Flyers have won eight straight home games against the Red Wings, dating back to Game 2 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Final.
  • The Flyers convincingly won both games against the Red Wings last season. On Dec. 4, they posted a 6-3 win in Detroit. On Jan. 28, they took the last game against the Red Wings in Philadelphia, 5-0. 
  • Milestone Watch: Tonight marks Brayden Schenn's 200th NHL game. Luke Schenn needs one point to reach 100 for his career. R.J. Umberger needs one assist for 200 in his career. Jake Voracek needs four assists for 200 in his career.

Flyers scratches: Braydon Coburn, Vincent Lecavalier, Andrew MacDonald, Zac Rinaldo

Flyers Projected Lineup

Line 1: Michael Raffl-Claude Giroux-Jake Voracek
Line 2: Brayden Schenn-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Wayne Simmonds
Line 3: Matt Read-Sean Couturier-R.J. Umberger
Line 4: Blair Jones-Chris VandeVelde-Jason Akeson 

D-Pair 1: Nick Grossmann-Mark Streit
D-Pair 2: Michael Del Zotto-Luke Schenn
D-Pair 3: Shayne Gostisbehere-Nick Schultz

Goalie: Ray Emery

Where to Watch

Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

Kevin Durso is the Managing Editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.