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At the Rink: Canadiens at Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers will put their top three offensive players on one line Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, SNE, CSN-PH), with Claude Giroux centering left wing Jakub Voracek and right wing Wayne Simmonds.

The Flyers (15-15-7) put that line together in the second half of their 2-1 loss at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

It's the latest line change for a team desperate to generate consistent offense; the Flyers are 29th in the League at 2.11 goals per game. Giroux (12), Simmonds (nine) and Voraeck (four) have combined for 32.0 percent of the Flyers' non-shootout goals this season (25 of 78).

"We weren't getting a lot accomplished five-on-five through the first 30 minutes of that game [against the Kings]," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said Tuesday. "That was something to change up our rhythm, number one. And to try to start generating a little bit. Our team did generate the last 30 minutes of that game a little bit more and I thought that [line] was a catalyst. We didn't have any of the matchups being on the road, but they went out and did a good job against any line they had to play against. I thought each time they went out they did good things. You're not going to generate an A-scoring chance every shift. But they went out and played well together."

Former Flyers coach Craig Berube tried Giroux between Voracek and Simmonds for parts of three games in November last season but it didn't work as Simmonds was shifted from right wing to left wing, a position he never had played.

This time it's Voracek playing on the left side, but it will be his seventh game at his new position.

"I think [Voracek] has done a great job on the left side," Simmonds said. "I think it was a little bit of an adjustment, as it would be for anybody. [Voracek] has a ton of skill and he's a really smart hockey player. He's playing really well in the left spot."

Giroux, Voracek and Simmonds have produced the bulk of the offense for the Flyers this season, but they know they can't put any extra pressure on themselves to produce.

"Just got to do the right things on the ice," Giroux said. "If we play good defensively, you're going to get your chances. Think the most important thing is to keep it simple."

It certainly was a simpler morning for the Canadiens (22-15-3), playing for the first time since their 5-1 defeat of the Boston Bruins at the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on New Year's Day.

"After practice [at the Winter Classic] there were like 300 people in the [locker] room," Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu said. "So many questions were being asked. As [in] Montreal, we have so much media. But coming back now it feels like it's settled down a bit again."

However the players still smile when the game is mentioned.

"The whole Winter Classic thing was a great experience for our group," Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher said, "mainly because we came away with two points.

To come out with two more points and end their eight-game road trip on a positive note, the Montreal players know they'll have to build off their emotional win against the Bruins.

"We had a bad December, lot of injuries," Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty said. "Start of the new year felt like a fresh start. Build off that first game. We're undefeated in January and we've got to keep going that way and play the right way."

Ben Scrivens will make his second start in goal for the Canadiens since being acquired from the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 28. Michal Neuvirth will make his second straight start in goal for the Flyers.

Here are the projected lineups:


Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher

Tomas Fleischmann - David Desharnais - Devante Smith-Pelly

Daniel Carr - Alex Galchenyuk - Lars Eller

Paul Byron - Torrey Mitchell - Brian Flynn

Nathan Beaulieu - P.K. Subban

Andrei Markov - Jeff Petry

Alexei Emelin - Mark Barberio

Ben Scrivens

Mike Condon

Injured: Dale Weise (upper body), Carey Price (lower body), Tom Gilbert (lower body)

Scratched: Sven Andrighetto, Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi


Jakub Voracek - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds

Michael Raffl - Sean Couturier - Brayden Schenn

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan White

Matt Read - Scott Laughton - R.J. Umberger

Michael Del Zotto - Radko Gudas

Mark Streit - Nick Schultz

Shayne Gostisbehere - Luke Schenn

Michal Neuvirth

Steve Mason

Injured: None

Scratched: Vincent Lecavalier, Brandon Manning, Evgeny Medvedev

Status report: Smith-Pelly was the choice ahead of Andrighetto to take Weise's spot because of his size (6-foot, 214 pounds). "It's never an easy place to come to in Philly," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "They're physical. We believe that his game ... could help Desharnais and Fleischmann. He can work the corners, the forecheck, go hard to the net, He's a presence out there."... Therrien was happy with how Scrivens played in his first game, a 27-save effort in a 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Dec. 29. "That was a tough game for us to play in," Therrien said. "That was a back-to-back game, three in four [nights], all the traveling between Christmas and New Year's. We didn't have a lot of energy in front of him. But I thought for his first game he was really, really sharp."... Neuvirth made 30 saves in the Flyers' loss to the Kings, but Hakstol said the goaltender played well enough to earn another start. "Thought [Neuvirth] did a good job the other night," Hakstol said. "He gave us a chance in the third to get back into the game. That's one of the small factors. He did a good job for the team, gave us a chance to gain points. So he's the guy that goes back tonight."... Read returns to the lineup after being scratched against the Kings.

Who's hot: Pacioretty has two goals and two assists during a three-game point streak. ... Simmonds has two goals and two assists in his past four games.


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