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Practice Update: The Minnesota Shuffle

Wednesday's full team practice in Minnesota saw changes up and down the lineup

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

A full practice in between games saw a shuffle of lines by Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol on Wednesday at XCel Energy Center in Minnesota.

One of the biggest saw a pair of wingers bumped up to play alongside Claude Giroux - Matt Read and Jakub Voracek. Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds move on a line with Valtteri Filppula anchoring the second line, while Travis Konecny took rushes on the right side with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde.

"It's looking at different things coming off a road performance from yesterday," said Hakstol of the changes. "The lineup we had Tuesday, we played an excellent game at home two nights before and we're just looking at a way to inject a little bit more into our lineup for a real tough road game here tomorrow night."

TOP GUNS REUNITED?
The move, if implemented for Thursday night's game at Minnesota, sees a reunion of Voracek and Giroux, who have been a successful pair before, and are the top two leading scorers on the team with 55 points and 53 points respectively.

Video: Hear from the team following practice"I haven't played with [Giroux] for a while, so hopefully we click in these last 10 games," said Voracek. "We know what to expect from each other and when we move our feet we are very, very dangerous so that's what we got to do. We have to have fun and find a way to score goals and help the team win games because we play a lot of minutes."

Giroux has been one of the most productive Flyers as of late, recording eight points in his last eight games, and posting at least a point in seven of those contests. Read finished strong in Winnipeg, recording a goal in the final seconds, and is confident that taking shifts along side familiar faces will create more scoring opportunities.

"We've been together on the same team for six years and you get to watch a lot of video to watch them do what they do out there," said Read, who played four years of college hockey in Minnesota at Bemidji State University, about four hours south of St. Paul. 

"I don't think I've ever gotten to play with both of them at the same time but I've played with them before and when they get the puck good things can happen and you have to find that open ice and they'll be able to find you."

STAYING PUT
One line that hasn't been touched was Sean Couturier's line centering Brayden Schenn and Dale Weise. The trio have been together for multiple games now and the chemistry is obviously there.

"Things have been going well the last few games," said Couturier, who leads the Flyers in scoring in March with two goals and seven assist for nine points. 

"There's always room for improvement but as far as chemistry, I don't know, it just clicked from the get-go. We're three guys that like to make plays and can control the puck pretty well. I think it's all about puck possession, cycling pucks, bringing pucks to the net and that's what we've been doing."

"Bluntly, that line, it's been a good line for us," said Hakstol. "Off their game a little bit [Tuesday], but they've been a good line and I'm confident they'll come back and do a good job tomorrow."Video: Hear from head coach Dave Hakstol following practice

MANNING BACK?
Hakstol added that the defense could stay the same or change depending on the seven blueliners on the trip. Brandon Manning has been out of the lineup due to injury, but could return to face the Wild.

"He's practiced well. He got extra work in [Tuesday] and practice well today, so we'll have a decision to make tomorrow morning."

THE ENERGY AT XCEL
One challenge they will have to overcome is a tough Minnesota squad, especially on their own turf. 

Despite struggling as of late and dropping seven of their last nine games, Minnesota is still in second place in the Western Conference and fifth overall in the League standings. Their record is even more impressive at home, going 24-10-1.

The Flyers will look to extend their recent win streak over the Wild, winninng four in-a-row dating back to December of 2014, but the margin of victory hasn't been overwhelming with three of the four coming by one goal.

Puck Drop is 8:00 p.m. on the east coast. Fans can catch the action on CSN or listen live on 97.5 The Fanatic.

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