Game 74 Preview: Road trip concludes against Oilers

Playing on the road has been a problem for the Flyers all season, and even more evident in their final lengthy road trip of the season. The Flyers are wrapping up a four-game road trip on Saturday night in Edmonton, trying to snap an eight-game road losing streak.
 
After Saturday's game, there will be just eight games left for the Flyers this season, and six of them will be on home ice. Even so, a 4-1 loss to Calgary on Thursday prompted a players only meeting.
 
Even that might not be enough to equate to a few extra wins as the season winds down. This is a frustrated team that just two weeks ago was on the cusp of a playoff spot. 
 
The Flyers hit the ice against the Oilers with the opening face-off coming at 10 p.m.

 
The Flyers are a team struggling to score goals of any kind. Aside from a seven-goal outbreak against Detroit last Saturday, the Flyers have scored two goals or less in eight of their last 10 games.
 
On Thursday, the Flyers only goal came in the closing seconds of the second period from the usual suspects. Claude Giroux picked up the goal on a nice set-up by Jake Voracek
 
Giroux is closing in on the 20-goal mark, picking up his 19th of the season on Thursday. Voracek's assist was his 49th of the season. Voracek is also still keeping pace in the points race. His 70 points remain just three back of leader Alex Ovechkin. He is also tied for second in assists, trailing Nicklas Backstrom by five.
 
After dressing seven defensemen for Thursday's game, the Flyers return to the usual six-defensemen lineup. Luke Schenn is sitting out Saturday's game with a lower-body injury. 
 
Vincent Lecavalier also remains a healthy scratch as Matt Read rejoins the lineup after missing two games on paternity leave. Nick Cousins also remains in the lineup for the third straight game after making a solid impact in his first two games.
 
Steve Mason gets another start in goal despite being pulled late in the second on Thursday. Mason is 14-17-10 with a 2.28 GAA and .925 save percentage.
 
The Oilers have been a team battling injuries and struggles all season. Despite that and their poor place in the standings, they have proven to be a tough match for even some of the best teams in the NHL lately.
 
This team possesses many young, budding stars. The headliner of that group is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Nugent-Hopkins is second on the team in points with 50 and leads the way with 20 goals.
 
Jordan Eberle leads the team with 56 points and has 37 assists. Saturday's game also marks the return of Taylor Hall. Hall has missed time twice this season, including the November meeting against the Flyers, due to injury, but is third on the team with 30 points in 42 games. 
 
Defensively, Justin Schultz and Oscar Klefbom are the leaders of the Edmonton blue line.
 
In goal, the Oilers will start Ben Scrivens. Scrivens is 13-22-10 with a 2.96 GAA and .897 save percentage.
 
Game Notes
  • Power Play: Flyers (3rd, 14th on road), Oilers (T-14th, T-19th at home) 
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (29th, 29th on road), Oilers (27th, T-28th at home) 
  • The Flyers defeated the Oilers on Nov. 4, 4-1. Jake Voracek scored two goals for the Flyers while Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Luke Schenn also added tallies. Steve Mason made 35 saves in the win.
  • Milestone Watch: Wayne Simmonds needs one goal for 100 as a Flyer. Mark Streit needs eight assists for 300 in his career.

Flyers scratches: Luke Schenn, Vincent Lecavalier, R.J. Umberger

Flyers Projected Lineup

Line 1: Michael Raffl-Claude Giroux-Jake Voracek
Line 2: Matt Read-Sean Couturier-Wayne Simmonds
Line 3: Ryan White-Brayden Schenn-Nick Cousins
Line 4: Chris VandeVeldePierre-Edouard Bellemare-Zac Rinaldo

D-Pair 1: Nick Schultz-Mark Streit
D-Pair 2: Nick Grossmann-Michael Del Zotto
D-Pair 3: Andrew MacDonald-Carlo Colaiacovo

Goalie: Steve Mason

Where to Watch
TV: CSN

Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

Kevin Durso is the managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @Kevin_Durso.