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At the Rink: Red Wings at Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- Shayne Gostisbehere certainly remembers the last meaningful game he played at Wells Fargo Center.

So do the Philadelphia Flyers fans who watched Gostisbehere score one goal, assist on two others and finish with a plus-7 rating as Union College won the NCAA title and Gostisbehere took home the trophy for Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four.

Gostisbehere will make his NHL debut Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.

"It's the NHL and college; big steps there," Gostisbehere said after his first regular-season morning skate. "It's going to be a different game. First NHL game, I'm going to take it shift by shift there and calm my nerves."

Gostisbehere was recalled from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on Friday, hours after Philadelphia announced veteran defensemen Braydon Coburn and Andrew MacDonald each would miss four weeks with lower-body injuries.

Gostisbehere was one of the final cuts during training camp, with general manager Ron Hextall saying at the time the Flyers were going to be patient with their young players and give them time to develop in the minor leagues or junior hockey.

But after three games in the AHL, Gostisbehere was summoned to Philadelphia. The hope is some of the same impressive qualities Gostisbehere displayed during the preseason will come through against the Red Wings.

Flyers coach Craig Berube said Gostisbehere will be paired with Luke Schenn at even strength, and Gostisbehere also saw time on the point on the second power-play unit during the morning skate.

"His skill, his skating … his anticipation," Berube said when asked what he liked about Gostisbehere. "I think he anticipates the game well. That's important up here for a guy like him, his size [5-foot-11, 160 pounds] and stuff. Thought he checked well with his stick, skates really well."

Gostisbehere said playing three preseason games gave him a taste of what the NHL would be like.

"Preseason was a good learning process for me," he said. "It's nice. You get the confidence that you can play. There were some things I needed to clean up and I wasn't too surprised when they sent me down to Lehigh Valley. But injuries happen, they call your number, you just have to give it your best. They're not looking for you to do too much out there, just get some quality minutes."

Chances are he could see some of those minutes against Detroit's star forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. That's a challenge for the best defensemen in the League, let alone a 21-year-old in his NHL debut.

"It's going to be a little different," he said. "I'm sure we've all YouTube'd Datsyuk's amazing goals on the computer. It's going to be an eye-opener if you're faced off against them out there."

Datsyuk and Zetterberg skated on different lines during the Red Wings morning skate, with Zetterberg centering Justin Abdelkader and Gustav Nyquist, and Datsyuk at right wing with Darren Helm at center and Tomas Tatar at left wing.

It was a line that was together a bit in training camp, but with Datsyuk and Helm missing most of the preseason with injuries, they didn't get back together until late in Detroit's 4-3 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.

One benefit from the line being together again is a spark for Tatar, who has one goal in seven games after he had 19 in 73 games last season.

"You just need to give the puck to [Datsyuk]," Tatar said. "He will create most of the chances for our whole line. He's a really smart player. He just needs to have the puck a lot on his stick. I just battle and try to get him the puck as much as I can and hopefully we'll create some offense together."

Here are the projected lineups:


Justin Abdelkader - Henrik Zetterberg - Gustav Nyquist

Tomas Tatar - Darren Helm - Pavel Datsyuk

Andrej Nestrasil - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Jurco

Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Joakim Andersson

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Danny DeKeyser - Kyle Quincey

Brendan Smith - Jakub Kindl

Jonas Gustavsson

Jimmy Howard

Scratched: Stephen Weiss, Daniel Cleary, Brian Lashoff

Injured: Johan Franzen (lower body)


Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Brayden Schenn - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Wayne Simmonds

R.J. Umberger - Sean Couturier - Matt Read

Chris VandeVelde - Blair Jones - Jason Akeson

Nicklas Grossmann - Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto - Nick Schultz

Shayne Gostisbehere - Luke Schenn

Ray Emery

Steve Mason

Scratched: None

Injured: Brayden Coburn (lower body), Zac Rinaldo (upper body), Vincent Lecavalier (lower body), Andrew MacDonald (lower body), Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), Ryan White (chest)

Status report: Helm took rushes at center on his line with Datsyuk, but Datsyuk could slide into the middle and take faceoffs depending on the situation. … Berube said moving Del Zotto with Schultz was in part a reward because of how well Del Zotto has played. "I thought Del Zotto is playing really well right now and had to move Schultz to the right side," Berube said. "Certain guys are comfortable on the right side that shoot left, certain guys aren't. I want to put them in the best position to be successful."

Who's hot: Zetterberg has goals in three straight games. … Giroux and Voracek each have seven points in their past five games.


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