Game 36 Preview: Flyers hit Arizona to face Coyotes

The Flyers met a tough foe in their return from the Christmas break, suffering a 4-1 loss on Saturday to the Nashville Predators, snapping a three-game winning streak.

Special teams was what really did the Flyers in on that night, and if not for two quick goals on a 5-on-3, the Flyers may have earned a point out of the game given their 5-on-5 play.

The road trip continues as the Flyers look to rebound on Monday night against the Arizona Coyotes. The opening face-off is set for 9 p.m.

The Flyers were completely shut down offensively after Nashville gained a lead, putting an end to a strong stretch of secondary scoring. 

That happens when facing the league's best defensive team. Arizona is anything but that. The Coyotes have allowed 111 goals this season, an average of 3.2 per game, while scoring just 79 goals, a goal differential of -32. The Flyers have allowed 100 goals this season, an average of 2.9 per game, but have a goal differential of -2.

A big reason for that is the Flyers dynamic scoring duo of Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek. Voracek's 46 points continue to lead the league and double the points total for Coyotes' team-leader Keith Yandle, who has 23 points. Giroux is riding a four-game points streak and trails Voracek with 42 points.

Contrary to popular belief, the Flyers are spreading the wealth in goal scoring. Four Flyers – Giroux, Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Michael Raffl – have 10 goals or more. Two more Flyers could join them at any moment, as Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn enter the game sitting on nine goals this season.

The Flyers defensive lineup remains the same with one change. Steve Mason returns in goal.

Mason missed three games following an injury scare suffered in practice. He is 6-10-5 with a 2.49 GAA and .921 save percentage.

Arizona enters with wins in three of their last five games after a five-game winless streak. In their last 10 games, the Coyotes are 3-6-1.

Despite the season-long struggles, the Coyotes are coming off a strong 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.

Yandle leads the team with 23 points and 19 assists. Mikkel Boedker leads the Coyotes with nine goals and has 20 points on the season.

Antoine Vermette, Sam Gagner, Martin Hanzel and Shane Doan are all scoring threats as well for a team that has struggled to score and given up a lot defensively.

After Yandle, Oliver Ekman-Larsson is the top defenseman with some offensive skills. He has eight goals, tied for second on the team, and 16 points.

Michael Stone and Zbynek Michalek round out the blue-line group for Arizona.

In goal, the Coyotes will start Devan Dubnyk. Mike Smith is primarily the regular for Arizona, but he has struggled this season, posting 5-15-2 and 3.48 GAA. Dubnyk has been the much stronger netminder, posting a 8-3-2 record and 2.52 GAA and .924 save percentage in 16 games.

Game Notes
  • Power Play: Flyers (7th, T-19th on road), Coyotes (11th, 25th at home) 
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (29th, 29th on road), Coyotes (28th, 30th at home) 
  • The Flyers split the two games with the Coyotes last season. The Coyotes won in Philadelphia on Oct. 11, 2013 by a score of 2-1. The Flyers won on Jan. 5, 5-3. 
  • Milestone Watch: Sean Couturier needs one point for 100 in his career. 

Flyers scratches:  Chris VandeVelde, 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: Zac RinaldoVincent 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: Steve Mason

Where to Watch

Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

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

Go to top button