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Flyers-Blackhawks: Game 16 Preview

12-3-2016_FlyersvsBlackhawks_1st_credKateFrese-24

(Kate Frese/SB Nation)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Following their 5-4 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche last Saturday, the Flyers had played seven games in 12 days. Thursday night marks their return to the ice after a much-needed break.

The Flyers will be looking for a bit of revenge, as they host the Chicago Blackhawks. The two teams met eight days ago in Chicago where the Blackhawks claimed a 3-0 shutout win.

Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia Flyers GP G A P Chicago Blackhawks GP G A P
Jake Voracek 15 3 15 18 Patrick Kane 15 5 9 14
Sean Couturier 15 9 9 18 Jonathan Toews 15 4 6 10
Claude Giroux 15 8 9 17 Ryan Hartman 15 4 6 10
Shayne Gostisbehere 12 1 13 14 Brandon Saad 15 6 3 9
Wayne Simmonds 15 6 5 11 Richard Panik 15 5 3 8
 
Player to Watch
17 Wayne Simmonds 88 Patrick Kane
Last 5 Games: 0 G, 2 A, 2 P, -1 Last 5 Games: 0 G, 2 A, 2 P, -3
 
Wayne Simmonds has started to get back into the offensive swing. He went five straight games without a point before picking up assists in both last Thursday's win over the Blues and Saturday's loss to the Avalanche. Simmonds also hasn't scored a goal since netting the game-winning goal on Oct. 21 against Edmonton. If anyone is due for an offensive showcase, it's Simmonds.
 
When Patrick Kane is in Philadelphia, it unfortunately conjures up memories of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final and he always seems to try a shot from that spot on the ice where heartbreak happened for the Orange and Black. Kane is off to a solid start this season. It looked like he was really heating up with goals in three straight games from Oct. 19-24, part of a six-game point streak, but has just two assists in five games since.
 
Goalie Matchup
37 Brian Elliott 50 Corey Crawford
5-3-1, 3.11 GAA, .892 SV% 7-5-0, 1.77 GAA, .945 SV%

Brian Elliott returns to the Flyers net after Michal Neuvirth started the last two games. On Wednesday, it appeared Neuvirth was getting another start, but he is believed to be dealing with an illness, so Elliott gets the start. Elliott's last start came last Wednesday in Chicago. He stopped 32 of 34 shots in a solid performance, despite the 3-0 shutout loss for the Flyers.

Corey Crawford stymied the Flyers in a 35-save shutout last Wednesday and followed it up with a 24-save shutout against Minnesota on Saturday. Crawford got the start again on Sunday, but lost to the Canadiens despite stopping 33 of 35 shots. Crawford has certainly been on a roll of late, and his performance last week against the Flyers showed that.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Injuries: Andrew MacDonald (lower-body), Nolan Patrick (upper-body)

Scratches: Matt Read, Mark Alt

Left Wing Center Right Wing
28 Claude Giroux 14 Sean Couturier 93 Jake Voracek
11 Travis Konecny 51 Valtteri Filppula 17 Wayne Simmonds
40 Jordan Weal 15 Jori Lehtera 22 Dale Weise
20 Taylor Leier 21 Scott Laughton 12 Michael Raffl
Defense    
9 Ivan Provorov 8 Robert Hagg  
53 Shayne Gostisbehere 23 Brandon Manning  
6 Travis Sanheim 3 Radko Gudas  
Goalie    
37 Brian Elliott    

Lineup Notes

Another Flyer makes his return, as Radko Gudas slots back into the lineup after leaving last Wednesday's game against Chicago early and missing the last two games. For now, Mark Alt remains on the roster, but will be a healthy scratch on Thursday.

The rest of the lineup remains the same. Nolan Patrick is still day-to-day with an upper-body injury. 

Blackhawks Projected Lineup

Injuries: Michal Rozsival, Jordin Tootoo, Marian Hossa

Scratches: Michal Kempny, Tanner Kero, Jordan Oesterle

Left Wing Center Right Wing
10 Patrick Sharp 19 Jonathan Toews 88 Patrick Kane
20 Brandon Saad 15 Artem Anisimov 14 Richard Panik
12 Alex DeBrincat 8 Nick Schmaltz 38 Ryan Hartman
17 Lance Bouma 57 Tommy Wingels 40 John Hayden 
Defense    
2 Duncan Keith 44 Jan Rutta  
42 Gustav Forsling 7 Brent Seabrook  
5 Connor Murphy 11 Cody Franson  
Goalie    
50 Corey Crawford    

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (11th, 15th at home), Blackhawks (27th, T-13th on road)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (T-24th, 21st at home), Blackhawks (6th, 7th on road) 
  • Recent History vs. Blackhawks
    • Nov. 1, 2017 - Blackhawks 3, Flyers 0
  • Flyers Leaders vs. Blackhawks
    • Claude Giroux - 13 GP, 3 G, 13 A, 16 P
    • Jake Voracek - 27 GP, 5 G, 14 A, 19 P
    • Wayne Simmonds - 22 GP, 4 G, 5 A, 9 P
    • Brian Elliott - 19 GP, 7-9-1, 2.47 GAA
  • Milestone Watch
    • Shayne Gostisbehere needs one point to reach 100 in his career. He would be just the 25th defensemen in Flyers history to reach 100 points as a Flyer.

Where to Watch
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

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