OK, I’m going to make this quick because I’m super late on it. That’s what happens when you get your first snowfall of the season on a Sunday!
The Red Wings will be looking to bounce-back after a poor performance vs. the Blue Jackets on Friday. Tonight’s game will be the third and final meeting of the season between the Red Wings and Flyers. Each of the first two games needed extra-time, with the Flyers winning the first in overtime and the Red Wings winning the second in a shootout.
Tonight will not be an easy task for Detroit, because the Flyers come in as the NHL’s hottest team, having won their last eight games while averaging 3.75 goals for and 2.38 goals against per game. Let’s take a look at how these two teams stack-up.
|Detroit Red Wings||Philadelphia Flyers|
|Goals For||2.36 GF/PG (t-23rd)||3.23 GF/PG (4th)|
|Goals Against||2.71 GA/PG (17th)||3.07 GA/PG (28th)|
|Power-Play||15.2% (25th)||25.0% (1st)|
|Penalty-Kill||84.1% (10th)||80.7 (22nd)|
|Corsi||46.78 CF% (27th)||51.12 CF% (12th)|
THE RED WINGS
The Red Wings had an optional skate on Saturday and because of the early start they did not have a morning skate today, so there’s no lineup information to pass along. Head coach Jeff Blashill said that all lineup decisions will be made on Sunday, so don’t expect an update until he addresses the media around 3 p.m. ET.
Despite a disappointing performance versus the Blue Jackets, the Red Wings’ last nine games have been solid. They’ve gone 5-2-2 (12 of 18 points) over that stretch and their veterans have been the ones doing the heavy lifting. Frans Nilsen and Henrik Zetterberg have led the way, each scoring three goals and five assist (eight points), while Thomas Vanek has six points (1G / 5A) and then three players are tied with five (Larkin, Green and Mantha).
There’s no word whether or not Jonathan Ericsson will return to the lineup after missing Friday with back spasms.
During the Flyers eight-game winning streak, they’ve been paced by the usual suspects. Jakub Voracek has led the way with 15 points (4G / 11), followed by Claude Gioux’s 11 (5G / 6A) and Wayne Simmonds’ eight (5G / 3A).
Hockey is a game often won or lost because of special teams and right now, the Flyers are owning the PP pic.twitter.com/poPK18wXpm
— Kyle (@Kyle_Phillippi) December 11, 2016
During that stretch, the Flyers power-play ranks ninth in the NHL in power-play percentage (23.7%), something the Red Wings will need to be aware of tonight and do their best to stay out of the penalty box.
In the first two meetings, Voracek, Brayden Schenn and Mark Streit have led the Flyers with three points each.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Jimmy Howard should get the start for the Red Wings after Petr Mrazek struggled mightily vs. the Blue Jackets. Howard returned after missing six games with a groin injury and stopped all seven shots that he faced in relief of Mrazek. Howard has played very well this season and comes into Sunday tied for second in GAA (1.75) and SV% (.942 SV%)—trailing only Devan Dubnyk in those categories. Howard started the Red Wings’ win over the Flyers on Novemebr 8th, stopping 23 of 25 in the 3-2 shootout victory.
There’s no word whether it will be Steve Mason or Anthony Stolarz for the Flyers. Mason has started the last seven games, including last night’s win over the Stars. Mason has won every one of those starts while posting a 2.23 GAA and .930 SV%. He also started that shootout loss to Detroit, but played very well, stopping 33 of 35 shots.
If they elect to give Mason a break, they’ll turn to their 22-year-old rookie netminder. Stolarz was a second round pick (No. 45 overall) in 2012 and stopped 29 of 32 shots in a 5-3 win over the Flames in his NHL debut on November 27th.
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck drop is at 5:00 p.m. ET at Joe Louis Arena. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or you can listen to it on 97.1 FM The Ticket.
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