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At the Rink: Avalanche at Flyers

by Adam Kimelman / NHL.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers defensemen Braydon Coburn, who has not played since sustaining a lower-body injury opening night against the Boston Bruins, will return Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche, likely on a pairing with Luke Schenn.

"Today was good," Coburn said after the morning skate. "For me, just to practice with the team, we had a good pregame skate out there. I feel good. … My foot's feeling good; that's the main indicator for me. That's how we gauge it."

The Flyers had the option of allowing Coburn to sit out for an extra few days because after Saturday they don't play again until Nov. 14. However, Flyers coach Craig Berube said if Coburn was ready, he was going to play.

"I think it's important that if he's ready to go and wants to play, he gets a game in and it's over with," Berube said. "… He's ready to go, I want him in there."

Coburn obviously wants to get in to help his teammates, but he did have another form of motivation to get back on the ice: "I'm excited not to have to see you guys up in the press box," he said.

The Flyers' other lineup change is a carryover from their 4-1 defeat of the Florida Panthers on Thursday, with Wayne Simmonds moving from right wing on the second line to left wing on the first line with center Claude Giroux and right wing Jakub Voracek. Berube put them together for the final two periods Thursday, but after an optional practice Friday, the morning skate Saturday was the first practice time they had.

Simmonds said he's never played left wing, but the biggest adjustment is mental.

"I've played right wing for quite a long time now," he said. "My mind's programmed to come back to that right side of the ice. I just have to make sure everything I do I'm going to the left, going to the left, going to the left. Make sure I'm fading away to the left. The guys do a good job talking to me. I'll be really cognizant of it, thinking about it."

The Avalanche will have a new look trying to stop the Flyers' attack. After three wins in their first 14 games, coach Patrick Roy shifted to a zone-based defense, scrapping the man-to-man defense used last season. Their first game in the new approach was a 4-3 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

"We didn't do it to change our defensive structure, we did it to change our breakout structure," Roy said. "By staying in our position in the zone, I think it helps us … it's easier on our breakout. Last game in the first period we had four or five good odd-man rushes. We believe that suits us a little bit better."

The players certainly are on board with the switch.

"We spend more time in the offensive zone," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "That's what we want to do, spend more time there, allow our skill to take over. We certainly work hard. Now all our hard work can pay off in the offensive zone rather than defensive zone, chasing."

Here are the projected lineups:

AVALANCHE

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Jarome Iginla

Ryan O'Reilly - Matt Duchene - Jamie McGinn

Alex Tanguay - John Mitchell - Dennis Everberg

Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Maxime Talbot

Nick Holden - Zach Redmond

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Nate Guenin - Tyson Barrie

Reto Berra

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Daniel Briere

Injured: Patrick Bordeleau (back surgery), Brad Stuart (hamstring), Ryan Wilson (shoulder), Jesse Winchester (concussion)

FLYERS

Wayne Simmonds - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

R.J. Umberger - Vincent Lecavalier - Chris VandeVelde

Brayden Schenn - Sean Couturier - Matt Read

Zac Rinaldo - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Jason Akeson

Nicklas Grossmann - Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto - Nick Schultz

Braydon Coburn - Luke Schenn

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Scratched: Blair Jones, Carlo Colaiacovo

Injured: Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), Andrew MacDonald (lower body), Ryan White (chest), Michael Raffl (lower body)

Status report: Briere will be a healthy scratch for a seventh straight game. He had his three sons, who live in the Philadelphia suburbs, at the rink Saturday. … Berra will make his second consecutive start. He made 35 saves in regulation and overtime against the Maple Leafs, but Roy said it's not a reward for solid play. "Has nothing to do with what happened in his last game," Roy said. "It was part of the plan and we stick to the plan." … Berube said Coburn's ice time would be monitored during the game. "See how he goes, see how it goes early on and how he's feeling," he said.

Who's hot: MacKinnon has four goals and two assists in his past five games. … Voracek has four goals and eight assists during his seven-game point streak. He has at least one point in 12 of 13 games this season.

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