Flyers-Wild: Game 18 Preview


(Kate Frese/SB Nation)

The Philadelphia Flyers will look for a way to solve the Devan Dubnyk riddle with juggled lines against the Minnesota Wild tonight.

By Dan Heaning, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

The Philadelphia Flyers gamut of Western Conference foes continues with the second of a back-to-back situation against the Minnesota Wild this time at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota at 8 p.m.

During the initial meeting in Philadelphia, the Flyers fired 32 shots on goaltender Devan Dubnyk. However, the Wild netminder stopped all Philadelphia offerings for his second shutout of the season. The last offensive outage was the fourth time the Fly Guys have been blanked this season. With secondary scoring fading, head coach Dave Hakstol will juggle his second and third lines as Nolan Patrick nears his return but is not quite ready to dress for this contest.

The game marks the seventh out of ten straight against Western Conference foes which is a stat that will make old-school Flyers fans harken back to a time when the team was in the West Division and Campbell Conference.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia Flyers GP G A P Minnesota Wild GP G A P
Jake Voracek 17 4 17 21 Jason Zucker 16 9 5 14
Claude Giroux 17 9 11 20 Eric Staal 16 5 7 12
Sean Couturier  17 10 9 19 Jared Spurgeon 16 2 8 10
Shayne Gostisbehere 14 1 14 15 Ryan Suter 16 2 7 9
Wayne Simmonds 17 6 5 11 Chris Stewart 16 6 2 8


Player to Watch
11 Travis Konecny 64 Mikael Granlund
Last 5 Games: 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, -2 Last 5 Games: 1 G, 1 A, 2 P, -2
With Wayne Simmonds in a slump and Nolan Patrick still out with an injury, the secondary scoring for the Flyers has hit a wall. If the Flyers are to get any production outside of the "No Souls Line," Travis Konecny needs to be the straw that stirs the drink, but in 17 games he's produced only seven points. As teams key on the Flyers first line, Konecny's playmaking ability is necessary for the team to continue any sort of offensive production. Even if he is stuck on a line with Jori Lehtera and Valtteri Filppula, there's no one on the Flyers forward corps outside of the top three with Konecny's skill and he needs to be at the forefront of the team's secondary production.
Similarly, things haven't quite gone in Mikael Granlund's favor for the first month and change of the NHL season. On a team bereft of scoring, Granlund has one goal and five points. One does not have to look much further when attempting to figure out the Wild's poor start. If Granlund isn't producing, the Minnesota Wild cannot survive this season. With the on-and-off goaltending the Flyers have had this season, there's no time like the present for him to turn things around.
Goalie Matchup
37 Brian Elliott 40 Devan Dubnyk
6-4-1, 2.73 GAA, .908 SV% 6-6-1, 2.55 GAA, .920 SV%

Despite going 1-2 in his last three, Brian Elliott has turned in three great performances with save percentages of .941, .974 and .963. With another crack at the offensively inept Wild, this figures to be where Elliott turns this string of games into something more or falls back to earth with a spotty performance. Elliott will have to do everything he can to ensure the former occurs as the goalie he'll face across the ice has been picture perfect recently.

Fresh off of shutting out the Flyers in Philadelphia and the Canadiens in Montreal, Devan Dubnyk will be performing an encore for the home crowd in Minnesota. While Dubnyk hasn't had the best start, he hasn't allowed a goal in the last two games. Any goaltender in that kind of zone is cause for concern especially for an offensively inconsistent team like the Flyers. However, when it's a goalie like Dubnyk on this kind of roll, the show may be over before it even begins.

Flyers Projected Lineup

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

Scratches: Matt Read (healthy), Mark Alt (healthy)

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

Lineup Notes

In search of offense, the Flyers have moved Jordan Weal to center and have attempted to make up for his small stature with big wingers. With Weal's move to center, Jori Lehtera is moved to left wing and Valtteri Filppula slots into the third liner center spot. The first and fourth lines are unchanged.

Nolan Patrick is still sidelined with an upper-body injury. Matt Read remains a healthy scratch. Andrew MacDonald is out with a lower-body injury. Mark Alt was recalled from the Phantoms as a seventh defenseman and is a healthy scratch.

Wild Projected Lineup

Injuries: Charlie Coyle is listed on the LTIR as he'll miss six to eight weeks with a right fibula fracture. Zach Parise is out for eight to ten weeks as he's recovering from microdiscectomy surgery on his back.

Left Wing Center Right Wing
63 Tyler Ennis 9 Mikko Koivu 64 Mikael Granlund
22 Nino Niederreiter 12 Eric Staal 16 Jason Zucker
26 Daniel Winnik 14 Joel Eriksson Ek 19 Luke Kunin
17 Marcus Foligno 7 Matt Cullen 10 Chris Stewart
20 Ryan Suter 46 Jared Spurgeon  
25 Jonas Brodin 24 Matthew Dumba  
23 Gustav Olofsson 4 Mike Reilly  
40 Devan Dubnyk    

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (T-15th, 11th on road), Wild (20th, 25th at home)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (T-19th, 23rd on road), Wild (7th, 6th at home)
  • Recent History vs. Predators
    • Nov. 11, 2017 – Wild 1, Flyers 0
    • March. 23, 2017 – Flyers 3, Wild 1
    • Nov. 12, 2016 – Flyers 3, Wild 2
  • Milestone Watch
    • Claude Giroux is five points away from 600.
    • Ivan Provorov will play in his 100th NHL game tonight

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

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