Flyers-Red Wings: Game 68 Preview

Flyers host Red Wings in a must win game for both
Photo Courtesy of Kate Frese
The Philadelphia Flyers (32-23-12) begin the most important week of the 2015-16 season tonight when they welcome Henrik Zetterberg and the Detroit Red Wings (34-24-11) to the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers enter tonight just three points back of Detroit for the final playoff spot with two games in hand. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30.
This is the second of three meetings with Detroit this season. The Flyers won a hard fought 2-1 shoot out victory back on January 17th in Detroit. Claude Giroux scored the lone goal for the Flyers in regulation. Michal Neuvirth made 29 saves to pick up the victory. The teams will wrap up their season series in Detroit on April 6th.  

Flyers Leaders GP G A P Red Wings Leaders GP G A P
Claude Giroux 64 18 39 57 Henrik Zetterberg 69 12 31 43
Jake Voracek 60 10 38 48 Dylan Larkin 67 20 20 40
Wayne Simmonds 67 24 23 47 Tomas Tatar 68 18 21 39
Brayden Schenn 65 23 23 46 Pavel Datsyuk 53 13 25 38
Shayne Gostisbehere 49 15 23 38 Justin Abdelkader 69 17 20 37
Player to Watch
17 Wayne Simmonds 71 Dylan Larkin
Last 5 Games: 1G, 3A, 4Pts, +1 Last 5 Games: 1G, 0A, 1Pts, -1
Wayne Simmonds continues to lead the Flyers in goal scoring. His 24 goals are one better than line mate Brayden Schenn. More importantly, Simmonds has picked up his assist total of late. The top line will benefit from not having to go against  Niklas Kronwall who is out with a knee injury.
Despite scoring just one goal over the past five games, Dylan Larkin continues to lead the Red Wings in goal scoring. The rookie winger also has tons of speed.  It will be interesting to see if Shayne Gostisbehere is called on to defend him throughout the night. Gostisbehere is the only Flyers defenseman who can come close to matching Larkin's wheels. 
Goalie Matchup
35 Steve Mason 34 Petr Mrazek
16-15-8, 2.60 GAA, .915 SV% 16-14-6, 2.17 GAA, .925 SV%

Steve Mason looks to get the start tonight for Philadelphia. The Florida excluded, Mason has been very since being called upon following the Team's 4-0 loss to Edmonton a little more than a week and a half ago. He is 3-0-1 in that stretch including a shutout of Columbus two Saturdays ago.

Petr Mrazek  has established himself as the Red Wings number one goal tender.  Since his arrival last season, Mrazek has been nothing short of sensational in taking over for Jimmy Howard. Mrazek appears to be the long term solution for Detroit and is more than capable of stealing games.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Scratches: Jakub Voracek, R.J. Umberger, Evgeny Medvedev, Jordan Weal, Micheal Del Zotto

Left Wing Center Right Wing
10 Brayden Schenn 28 Claude Giroux 17 Wayne Simmonds
12 Michael Raffl 14 Sean Couturier 89 Sam Gagner
76 Chris VandeVelde 78 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 25 Ryan White
21 Scott Laughton 52 Nick Cousins 24 Matt Read
47 Andrew MacDonald 53 Shayne Gostisbehere  
32 Mark Streit 55 Nick Schultz  
23 Brandon Manning 3 Radko Gudas  
35 Steve Mason    

Andrew MacDonald looks to return to the lineup in place of Evgeny Medvedev. The forward lines should remain the same as the last few games. 

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (13th, 23rd at home), Red Wings(24th, 14th on road) 
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (22nd, 21st at home), Red Wings (20th, 25th on road)
  • The Flyers are 61-49-21 all time against the Red Wings including a 40-13-11 record at home.
  • The Flyers have won 10 straight home games against Detroit. The Red Wings last win in Philadelphia was all the way back in 1997.

Where to Watch
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

Bill Minchin is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow Bill on Twitter @wtfd103074.