FLYERS (20-17-4) at COYOTES (20-11-9)
TV: CSN-PH, FS-A PLUS
Last 10: Philadelphia 7-2-1; Phoenix 3-3-4
Season series: It’s the second and final game this season between the Philadelphia Flyers and Phoenix Coyotes. On Oct. 11, Oliver Ekman-Larsson's power-play goal with 13 seconds left in the second period held up as the game-winner in a 2-1 Coyotes win in Philadelphia.
Big story: The Coyotes will have a key component of their lineup back Saturday, when captain Shane Doan will play for the first time in a month. He had been undergoing treatment for Rocky Mountain Fever.
He practiced with the team Friday and said he was ready to return.
"I'm going to do as much as I can and go as hard as I can. ... I know I can contribute and help," Doan told the team’s website on Friday. "I'm sure I'll be a little rusty and a little winded but I'll get over it."
While the Coyotes will have a piece of their lineup back, the Flyers will be missing a key piece of theirs; rookie forward Michael Raffl will sit out with a concussion. In 10 games on the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, the trio had combined for 11 goals and 25 assists as the Flyers went 7-2-1.
Flyers: While they were disappointed with the end of their four-game win streak Thursday, the Flyers believed they did everything they could to get a win.
"The effort was there," Giroux said. "We played a good game. We had a lot of chances to tie it up. The puck was on the goal line. A lot of chances. I think we've just got to keep our heads up."
The difference in the game was Ryan O'Reilly's second-period goal that barely trickled through Flyers goalie Steve Mason. Philadelphia pushed with 10 shots on goal in the third in an attempt to tie it but couldn't get anything past Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov.
"It was a pretty [bad] break," Mason said. "The effort was there [Thursday]. We had a lot of chances to get back and take the lead but the puck wasn't bouncing the right way for us [Thursday]. I thought the guys were working hard to create chances."
Coyotes: After playing five straight games past regulation, the Phoenix Coyotes then had to handle the loss of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who had to leave the game in the first period after sustaining an upper-body injury. He averages a team-high 24:39 of ice time per game.
Losing Ekman-Larsson forced coach Dave Tippett to extend the ice time of some players who probably didn’t need it. Keith Yandle played a season-high 30:37, and David Rundblad and Rostislav Klesla, who haven’t seen much ice time recently, saw their ice time rise. Rundblad, playing his first game since Dec. 6, played 21:50; Klesla, out since Dec. 23, skated 24:09.
"We're trying to get Klesla and Rundblad up and going a little bit, so it wasn't ideal," Tippett said.
However Tippett wasn’t ready to accept any excuses for his team’s play Thursday.
"We didn't play well enough," he said. "We didn't execute well enough. We didn't compete hard enough."
Who's hot: Flyers forward Scott Hartnell has two goals and five assists during his current streak of six straight games with a point. ... Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle has two goals and three assists in his past four games.
Injury report: For the Flyers, Raffl and defenseman Erik Gustafsson (knee) are out. Forward Matt Read (upper body) is questionable. ... For the Coyotes, defenseman Zbynek Michalek (lower body) is out. Ekman-Larsson (upper body) is questionable.
Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
|Back to top|