Flyers-Devils: Game 43 Preview

Coming off the bye, the Philadelphia Flyers find themselves in another crucial game in their first meeting of the season with the New Jersey Devils.

By Dan Heaning, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

After a heralding bye week, the Philadelphia Flyers will try to make it four straight wins against division rival and one of the league's top surprises this season, the New Jersey Devils from the Prudential Center at 7 p.m.

Before heading into their week-long bye, the Flyers won three straight games and were playing some of the best hockey they had all season after losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-1. Philadelphia pulled out victories over the New York Islanders, St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres to effectively re-enter the playoff discussion.

On the other side of the ice, the Devils rolled through most of the first half of the season thanks to the play of rookies Nico HischierJesper Bratt and Will Butcher. However, before heading into their bye week, the Devils dropped five-straight games and managed to eek out only three points in that span. Due to those respective trends, the Devils are only six points ahead of the Flyers for third in the divisional playoff race. 

This game will also mark the first meeting between the two rivals this season and, therefore, the first contest between Hischier and Nolan Patrick who were the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia Flyers GP G A P New Jersey Devils GP G A P
Claude Giroux 42 14 38 52 Taylor Hall 39 15 27 42
Jake Voracek 42 8 43 51 Jesper Bratt 40 10 16 26
Sean Couturier  42 23 19 42 Nico Hischier 41 8 18 26
Shayne Gostisbehere 39 9 23 32 Will Butcher 41 2 23 25
Wayne Simmonds 42 14 12 26 Brian Gibbons 41 12 10 22


Player to Watch
14 Sean Couturier 8 Will Butcher
Last 5 Games: 6 G, 3 A, 9 P, +2 Last 5 Games: 0 G, 2 A, 2 P, -4
Though he was an All-Star snub, Sean Couturier comes out of the bye week with insane numbers. In his last three games, Couturier has five goals and one assist for six points.  
The Devils success this season is multi-faceted, but one huge reason has been the emergence of Will Butcher. Butcher is the Devils' Gostisbehere, but lately hasn't been producing like he did to start the season.
Goalie Matchup
37 Brian Elliott 35 Cory Schneider
16-10-7, 2.74 GAA, .910 SV% 17-8-6, 2.67 GAA, .918 SV%

It's been a rough go for Brian Elliott for the last few weeks. Since Dec. 18, Elliott has only three games with save percentages over .900 and two over .910. In fact, after going six games with allowing only two or fewer goals, Elliott has only had two games where he allowed fewer than three goals in his last nine games. It is believed that fatigue had a role in Elliott's diminishing numbers after being one of the Three Stars of the Week in two consecutive weeks. After a week off, fatigue will have little to do with Elliott's performance in this game.

Like the opposing goaltender, Cory Schneider has had a rough few games as well. In his last four starts, Schneider has allowed four goals in each. He hasn't seen a save percentage above .900 since Dec. 27. Schneider isn't impressive lifetime against the Flyers either. He is 5-4-1 with a 2.46 and .915 save percentage against the Orange and Black. However, last season, he was stellar against Philadelphia with a 1.50 GAA and .947 SA. Don't let anything this become misleading, Schneider has been rock solid this season. He is ninth in medium danger save percentage and 11th in high danger save percentage among all goaltenders with a minimum of 600 minutes of ice time.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Scratches: Shayne Gostisbehere, Taylor Leier, Dale Weise

Left Wing Center Right Wing
28 Claude Giroux 14 Sean Couturier 11 Travis Konecny
12 Michael Raffl 51 Valtteri Filppula 93 Jake Voracek
40 Jordan Weal 19 Nolan Patrick 17 Wayne Simmonds
15 Jori Lehtera 21 Scott Laughton 56 Tyrell Goulbourne
9 Ivan Provorov 6 Travis Sanheim  
8 Robert Hagg 47 Andrew MacDonald  
23 Brandon Manning 3 Radko Gudas  
37 Brian Elliott    

Lineup Notes: Shayne Gostisbehere is out on Saturday night with an illness that kept him from practice on Friday and the morning skate on Saturday. Travis Sanheim slots back into the lineup for the night.

Devils Projected Lineup

Injuries: Mirco Mueller will miss 10-12 weeks with a fractured left clavicle.

Left Wing Center Right Wing
9 Taylor Hall 13 Nico Hischier 63 Jesper Bratt
90 Marcus Johansson 19 Travis Zajac 21 Kyle Palmieri
44 Miles Wood 37 Pavel Zacha 18 Drew Stafford
40 Blake Coleman 11 Brian Boyle 39 Brian Gibbons
6 Andy Greene 16 Steven Santini  
2 John Moore 45 Sami Vatanen  
8 Will Butcher 12 Ben Lovejoy  
35 Cory Schneider    

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (10th, 6th on road), Devils (T-6th, 3rd at home)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (28th, 15th on road), Devils (7th, 8th at home)
  • Recent History vs. Devils
    • April 4, 2017 – Devils 1, Flyers 0 OT (at NJD)
    • April 1, 2017 – Flyers 3, Devils 0 (at PHI)
    • March 16, 2017 – Devils 6, Flyers 2 (at NJD)
  • Milestone Watch
    • Radko Gudas will play in his 300th NHL game tonight.

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

Go to top button