Flyers-Canadiens: Game 48 Preview

Flyers host Canadiens out of All-Star break

The All-Star break is over and now the stretch run begins. The Flyers return to the ice on Tuesday night to face the Montreal Canadiens in their first of several crucial games in the month of February.

For the Flyers, this will be the make or break month, the chance to either gain some ground and pass opponents in the standings or ultimately fall out of the race. The fate rests in their hands and the way they play upon returning from another break.

That can start on Tuesday. The Flyers have four teams ahead of them in the standings still outside of the playoff picture. The Canadiens sit two points in front and the Flyers have three games in hand. A win in regulation will vault the Flyers over the Canadiens, who are just 2-7-1 since their win in the Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

The Flyers and Canadiens faceoff starting at 7 p.m. from Wells Fargo Center.

Flyers Leaders GP G A P Canadiens Leaders GP G A P
Claude Giroux 47 14 25 39 P.K. Subban 50 4 33 37
Jake Voracek 47 8 28 36 Max Pacioretty 50 19 17 36
Wayne Simmonds 47 14 15 29 Tomas Plekanec 50 9 25 34
Brayden Schenn 45 12 14 26 Alex Galchenyuk 50 11 17 28
Sean Couturier 38 9 13 22 Brendan Gallagher 33 12 14 26
Player to Watch
93 Jake Voracek 76 P.K. Subban
Last 5 Games: 3 G, 3 A, 6 P, +2 Last 5 Games: 1 G, 5 A, 6 P, -6
Jake Voracek seems to have turned a corner with his two-goal performance, entering the All-Star break with confidence after his highlight-reel game-winning goal in Washington last Wednesday. He's been among the Flyers best in the last few weeks and will look to pick up where he left off.
P.K. Subban has been the constant for the Canadiens, who in particular have struggled with scoring of late, averaging two goals per game in their last five games. Subban has six points in his last five games, but is also a minus-6 in that time, which is telling since he was a plus-12 on the season as of Jan. 17.
Goalie Matchup
35 Steve Mason 39 Mike Condon
10-12-6, 2.72 GAA, .914 SV% 13-13-4, 2.45 GAA, .904 SV%

Steve Mason makes his first start since Jan. 21 in Pittsburgh where he suffered a 4-3 loss. Mason battled a lingering injury leading into the All-Star break, but will return between the pipes for the Flyers with Michal Neuvirth also battling an injury that forced him to leave Monday's practice. Mason's last win came on Jan. 13 against Boston. 

It's been a struggle of late for Mike Condon as well. He earned wins in back-to-back starts on Jan. 1 and 6, but since then has lost five of six games, allowing three goals or more in three of his last four starts. 

Flyers Projected Lineup

Scratches: Jordan Weal, R.J. Umberger, Brandon Manning, Michal Neuvirth

Left Wing Center Right Wing
93 Jake Voracek 28 Claude Giroux 17 Wayne Simmonds
89 Sam Gagner 14 Sean Couturier 10 Brayden Schenn
76 Chris VandeVelde 78 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 25 Ryan White
12 Michael Raffl 21 Scott Laughton 24 Matt Read
15 Michael Del Zotto 53 Shayne Gostisbehere  
55 Nick Schultz 32 Mark Streit  
82 Evgeny Medvedev 3 Radko Gudas  
35 Steve Mason    

The Flyers only injury of note is to Michal Neuvirth, out with a lower-body injury. Anthony Stolarz is on the bench in the backup role. R.J. Umberger exits the lineup as a healthy scratch after a 50-game goalless drought. Sam Gagner remains in the lineup while Sean Couturier makes his return. Both will play on the second line with Brayden Schenn while Michael Raffl, who previously was their linemate, drops to the fourth line with Matt Read and Scott Laughton. Evgeny Medvedev also comes back into the lineup for Brandon Manning.

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (T-21st, 27th at home), Canadiens (T-21st, 19th on road)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (26th, 25th at home), Canadiens (6th, T-13th on road) 
  • Recent History vs. Canadiens
    • Jan. 5, 2016 - The Flyers grabbed a 4-3 win over the Canadiens on home ice. Brayden Schenn, Shayne Gostisbehere, Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier all collected goals in the win while Michal Neuvirth made 21 saves. Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher and Daniel Carr all scored for the Canadiens while Ben Scrivens made 27 saves. 
    • Feb. 10, 2015 – The Flyers fell to the Canadiens, 2-1, in overtime in Montreal. Matt Read scored 51 seconds into the game to give the Flyers a lead that held all the way until the third when with 7:22 to play, Tomas Plekanec tied the game. David Desharnais scored at 3:27 of overtime to give Montreal the win.
    • Nov. 15, 2014 – The Flyers suffered a 6-3 loss to the Canadiens in Montreal. P.A. Parenteau and Dale Weise each scored two goals while P.K. Subban and David Desharnais added goals for Montreal. Brayden Schenn scored two goals and Matt Read added a power-play goal.
    • Oct. 11, 2014 – The Flyers fell to the Canadiens, 4-3, in a shootout at home. The Flyers opened a 3-0 lead on first-period goals by Michael Raffl and Wayne Simmonds and an early second-period tally by Simmonds just 55 seconds into the period. Montreal rallied for three third-period goals in 7:35 by Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec and Alex Galchenyuk to force overtime. P.A. Parenteau scored the only goal of the shootout in the fourth round to seal the win for Montreal.
  • Flyers leaders vs. Canadiens
    • Jake Voracek – 17 games, 3 goals, 13 assists, 16 points
    • Brayden Schenn – 12 games, 3 goals, 8 assists, 11 poinrs
    • Michael Raffl – 4 games, 3 goals, 0 assists, 3 points
    • Steve Mason - 3 games, 3-0-0, 1.62 GAA, .936 SV%
  • Milestone Watch
    • Mark Streit: 5 points to reach 400 for career
    • Jake Voracek: 7 goals to reach 100 as a Flyer

Where to Watch
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

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

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