Game 33 Preview: Zepp makes debut against Jets

The Flyers may be riding high from Saturday's 7-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, but they have a quick turnaround.

An eight-game road trip continues on Sunday night in Winnipeg as the Flyers face the Jets. The opening face-off is set for 9 p.m.

The Flyers have been getting contributions across the board. Sean Couturier's line started the scoring on Saturday with two goals in a three-goal first period. Scott Laughton and Nick Grossmann added goals.

But the stars for the Flyers continue to be Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek. The two sit atop the NHL leaderboard in points this season. Voracek is in the clear by three points over Giroux with a total of 42. The Flyers captain is tied for second with 39 points. Both players had four points in Saturday's win.

The Flyers will likely roll out the same lines on Sunday, but there will be one change to the lineup.

Rob Zepp will make his NHL debut in goal. The 33-year-old goalie has a 8-5-4 record, a 2.70 GAA and .918 save percentage at Lehigh Valley this season.

The Jets are sitting in fourth place in the Central Division with 40 points and an 8-6-2 record at home. They are closing out a four-game homestand.

The Flyers are facing the Jets for the first of two games this season – the other will be in Philadelphia in January. The two teams split the season series last season.

Winnipeg has heated up of late, posting a 6-1-3 record in the last 10 games, including two straight at home. They are a low-scoring team – averaging 2.4 goals per game – but one of the best defensive teams in the NHL – their 2.2 goals against per game ranks fourth.

Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler are tied for the team lead with 23 points. Bryan Little is right behind with 21 points and leads the team with 12 goals. 

Down the roster, the Jets do have scoring potential. Evander Kane and Mathieu Perreault have found ways to plague the Flyers.

Defensively, Dustin Byfuglien is filling in for a battered blue line in Winnipeg. Though listed as a right wing with 17 points on the season, Byfuglien is playing in all situations for Winnipeg and serving as a defenseman in some cases.

The Jets also recently acquired Jay Harrison from Carolina to help assist the defense. The Jets have defensemen Toby Enstrom and Zach Bogosian on injured reserve, both with lower-body injuries.

In goal, the Jets have a dynamic goaltending duo with Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson. Hutchinson leads the league with a 1.73 GAA and .940 save percentage and has a 7-2-2 record. Pavelec is 10-8-4 with a 2.27 GAA and .916 save percentage.

Game Notes
  • Power Play: Flyers (5th, 12th on road), Jets (T-22nd, 27th at home) 
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (29th, 30th on road), Jets (8th, 23rd at home) 
  • The Flyers have split the two meetings with the Winnipeg Jets this season. They were defeated by the Jets on Nov. 15, 3-2, and picked up a 2-1 win on Nov. 29.
  • Milestone Watch: Andrew MacDonald needs one point for 100 in his career. Sean Couturier needs two points for 100 in his career. Jake Voracek's next point will be his 200th with the Flyers.

Flyers scratches:  Steve Mason, Zac Rinaldo, Michael Del Zotto, Carlo Colaiacovo

Flyers Projected Lineup

Line 1: Michael Raffl-Claude Giroux-Jake Voracek
Line 2: Wayne Simmonds-Scott Laughton-Brayden Schenn
Line 3: R.J. Umberger-Sean Couturier-Matt Read
Line 4: Chris VandeVeldeVincent Lecavalier-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

D-Pair 1: Nick Grossmann-Mark Streit
D-Pair 2: Braydon Coburn-Nick Schultz
D-Pair 3: Andrew MacDonald-Luke Schenn

Goalie: Rob Zepp

Where to Watch

Radio: 93.3 WMMR

Kevin Durso is the Managing Editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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