Flyers-Coyotes: Game 12 Preview


(Kate Frese/SB Nation)

The Philadelphia Flyers will need to avoid falling into a classic trap game tonight at 7 against the winless Arizona Coyotes from the Wells Fargo Center.

By Dan Heaning, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

The Philadelphia Flyers are looking to earn back-to-back wins for the second time this season while avoiding falling into a dreaded trap game against the winless Arizona Coyotes tonight at 7 p.m. from the Wells Fargo Center.

The Orange and Black rebounded nicely after a controversial loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night with a solid effort against the Toronto Maple Leafs this past Saturday. However, any momentum from that bounce-back effort will be lost if the Flyers play down to the Coyotes level and drop this one tonight.

There is precedence for concern against the Desert Dogs. The Fly Guys drew Arizona twice last October and dropped both games and earned only one point against one of the league’s lower echelon clubs. Rick Tocchet’s squad is desperate for its first win of the season but has injury concerns in net that the Flyers should be able to expose.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia Flyers GP G A P Arizona Coyotes GP G A P
Jake Voracek 11 2 14 16 Clayton Keller 11 8 4 12
Sean Couturier 11 7 6 13 Max Domi 11 1 7 8
Shayne Gostisbehere 11 1 12 13 Derek Stepan 11 2 5 7
Claude Giroux 11 6 6 12 Oliver Ekman-Larsson 11 1 5 6
Wayne Simmonds 11 6 3 9 Anthony Duclair 11 3 2 5


Player to Watch
93 Jake Voracek 9 Clayton Keller
Last 5 Games: 2 G, 4 A, 6 P, +2 Last 5 Games: 5 G, 3 A, 8 P, -3
Take your pick between Jake Voracek and Sean Couturier as both are red hot in the last three games. There is no reason to believe that shouldn't continue tonight against a poor defensive team with goaltending issues. However, Voracek has tallied in each of the last two contests after being held goalless for the previous nine. Even if the Arizona defense can somehow keep Voracek at bay, he'll still have to worry about Couturier who has three goals and six points in the last three as well. 
The Coyotes can't score. It's not that they don't have the talent, it just hasn't worked out in their favor. Unless your name is Clayton Keller or otherwise known as "the Arizona Coyote offense." With five goals and eight points in his last five contests, Keller is Objective Number One for the Flyers injury-riddled defense. An early Calder Trophy favorite, Keller brings tremendous playmaking ability and finish. The Flyers only hope to contain the Boston University alum is to take advantage of his 5'10 frame and work the body, if anyone can catch him.
Goalie Matchup
37 Brian Elliott 40 Scott Wedgewood
5-2-0, 3.14 GAA, .885 SV% 0-0-0, 0.00 GAA, .000 SV%

Brian Elliott, like his team, bounced back against Toronto on Saturday. The Flyers will hope he can continue his solid play without allowing yet another bad goal. Stopping the stoppable stops has been something of a bugaboo for Elliott in the opening month. Despite his two "really bad starts," Elliott has turned in five "quality starts." While his advanced metrics are still far below that of Michal Neuvirth's, a contest like this may allow Elliott to catch up a bit.

After waiving Louie Domingue, placing Antti Raanta on IR, recalling Hunter Miska and trading for Scott Wedgewood, the Coyotes are a complete mystery in net. It appears after speculation that Raanta was close to returning that Wedgewood will make his first start of the season. Wedgewood only has one game under his belt in the AHL while playing for the Binghamton Devils, surrendering only one goal in the victory, but has played in 16 games total since 2015-16 across National, American and East Coast Hockey Leagues. Wedgewood's last NHL experience game in 2015-16 with the New Jersey Devils. He went 2-1-1 with a 1.27 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage. Three of his starts qualified as "really good starts." He spent all of 2016-17 with the Albany Devils and played in 10 games going 5-3 that season.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Injuries: Nolan Patrick (upper-body), Shayne Gostisbehere (upper-body), Andrew MacDonald (lower-body), Sam Morin (undisclosed)

Scratches: Dale Weise 

Left Wing Center Right Wing
28 Claude Giroux 14 Sean Couturier 93 Jake Voracek
40 Jordan Weal 51 Valtteri Filppula 17 Wayne Simmonds
24 Matt Read 15 Jori Lehtera 11 Travis Konecny
20 Taylor Leier 21 Scott Laughton 12 Michael Raffl
9 Ivan Provorov 8 Robert Hagg  
6 Travis Sanheim 3 Radko Gudas  
23 Brandon Manning 39 Mark Alt  
37 Brian Elliott    

Lineup Notes

Nolan Patrick is still sidelined with an upper-body injury. Shayne Gostisbehere appears to be unlikely to go for tonight with an upper-body injury as well. Dale Weise remains a healthy scratch. Andrew MacDonald is out with a lower-body injury. Sam Morin was supposed to make his regular-season debut for 2017-18 tonight but due to a nagging injury, Mark Alt will be recalled from the Phantoms to play in his place.

Coyotes Projected Lineup

Injuries: Jacob Chychrun is recovering from offseason knee surgery and is out. Antti Raanta is out with lower-body injury. Oliver Ekman-Larsson has a concussion and is listed as questionable.

Left Wing Center Right Wing
16 Max Domi 21 Derek Stepan 9 Clayton Keller
11 Brendan Perlini 18 Christian Dvorak 8 Tobias Rieder
34 Zac Rinaldo 29 Mario Kempe 10 Anthony Duclair
25 Nick Cousins 15 Brad Richardson 48 Jordan Martinook
23 Oliver Ekman-Larsson 55 Jason Demers  
33 Alex Goligoski 4 Niklas Hjalmarsson  
44 Kevin Connauton 2 Luke Schenn  
40 Scott Wedgewood    

Lineup Notes: The Coyotes waived Domingue, traded for Wedgewood, recalled Miska and placed Raanta on the injured reserve making their goaltending situation something of a mess. Also, that's a lot of ex-Flyers in there. 

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (9th, 19th at home), Coyotes (T-15th, 11th on road)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (T-17th, 10th at home), Coyotes (31st, T-26th on road)
  • Recent History vs. Predators
    • Oct. 27, 2016 – Coyotes 5, Flyers 4
    • Oct. 15, 2016 – Coyotes 4, Flyers 3 (OT)
  • Milestone Watch
    • Wayne Simmonds needs one assist to reach the 200 mark.
    • Shayne Gostisbehere needs two points to reach 100 in his career.

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

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