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Major playoff implications for Red Wings, Flyers

Detroit and Philadelphia need win to take step toward postseason

by Paul Harris / Correspondent

FLYERS (39-26-13) at RED WINGS (40-28-11)

TV: 8 p.m., ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports

DETROIT -- It will be the biggest game of the season for the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers when they play at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday.

The Red Wings, who are looking to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 25th consecutive season, are third in the Atlantic Division with 91 points, the same as the fourth-place Boston Bruins. But the Red Wings have the regulation/overtime win (ROW) tiebreaker, 38-37.

"This has been all season long," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I said on NHL Network yesterday we've been in the playoffs all season. Every game's been tight. Game 1 is extraordinarily important; so is Game 80. So let's go out and be focused on doing the things it takes to be successful."

The Flyers also have 91 points and hold the second wild card into the playoffs in the Eastern Conference because they've played two fewer games than the Bruins.

"We circled this game a long time ago," Philadelphia center Claude Giroux said. "And today is the day. It's a good feeling … at the end of the day we just have to go out and play our game."

Said Flyers coach Dave Hakstol, "You don't need, really, to talk about the importance of this game. ... Just go out and play a road game with intensity. We know what's on the line."

Goalie Steve Mason will make his 10th straight start for the Flyers, who will have one lineup change. Defenseman Evgeny Medvedev will replace Andrew MacDonald, who is day-to-day because of an upper-body injury.

Jimmy Howard will make his third straight start in goal for Detroit.

"This is as about as big as we've had in a little while in the regular season," Howard said. "It's going to be fun. The atmosphere is going to be great. It's going to be a hell of a game."

Here are the projected lineups:


Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds

Michael Raffl - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Nick Cousins - Sam Gagner

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan White

Nick Schultz - Mark Streit

Brandon Manning - Shayne Gostisbehere

Evgeny Medvedev - Radko Gudas

Steve Mason

Anthony Stolarz

Injured: Michael Del Zotto (wrist), Michal Neuvirth (lower body), Andrew MacDonald (upper body)

Scratched: R.J. Umberger, Scott Laughton, Jordan Weal


Justin Abdelkader - Henrik Zetterberg - Dylan Larkin

Darren Helm - Pavel Datsyuk - Brad Richards

Gustav Nyquist - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Tatar

Andreas Athanasiou - Luke Glendening - Tomas Jurco

Danny DeKeyser - Kyle Quincey

Niklas Kronwall - Alexey Marchenko

Jonathan Ericsson - Mike Green

Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek

Injured: Drew Miller (knee), Johan Franzen (concussion)

Scratched: Anthony Mantha, Teemu Pulkkinen, Brendan Smith

Status update: Jurco replaces Mantha in the lineup. He had been a healthy scratch the past 10 games. … Medvedev has played once in the past 15 games, March 12 against the Florida Panthers.

Who's hot: Simmonds has four goals and two assists in his past four games. … Richards and Green each had a goal and an assist each in a 3-2 win at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

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