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Flyers goalie Zepp to make NHL debut against Jets

by Patrick Williams

FLYERS (12-14-6) at JETS (17-10-6)


WINNIPEG -- Veteran goaltender Rob Zepp will make his NHL debut at age 33 for the Philadelphia Flyers when they visit the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.

A fourth-round pick by Carolina Hurricanes in the 2001 NHL Draft, Zepp signed with Philadelphia last summer after spending the past six seasons with Eisbaeren Berlin of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. Before this season, Zepp had not played in North America since the 2004-05 season.

The Flyers recalled Zepp on Friday from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League after Steve Mason sustained an upper-body injury at practice. Mason will be re-evaluated Monday.

Zepp went 8-5-4 in 17 games with Lehigh Valley this season with a 2.70 goals-against average and.918 save percentage.

Ray Emery played in the Flyers' 7-4 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs that started an eight-game road trip. Emery allowed three first-period goals and finished with 21 saves.

Zepp participated in the Flyers' optional morning skate at MTS Centre on Sunday, but the Flyers did not make him available to the media.

"It's exciting," Flyers coach Craig Berube said of Zepp's NHL debut. "I've only seen him in preseason with us and he played very well. It looked like he moved really well in net, and he has good structure to his game."

Flyers left wing Zac Rinaldo left the game at Toronto in the second period with an upper-body injury. Chris VandeVelde will replace Rinaldo in the lineup.

The Flyers' seven goals Saturday were a game-high for this season, but the message inside the Philadelphia dressing room will be to play a much different game against Winnipeg.

"We're trying to win games 2-1," Flyers right wing Matt Read said. "[We have to] keep it simple. They're a fast-paced team. [We have to] keep our shifts short in a back-to-back [game]."

Jets coach Paul Maurice will maintain the same lineup that he used in a 2-1 win against the Boston Bruins on Friday. After being acquired in a trade from the Carolina Hurricanes, defenseman Jay Harrison played 20:18, the most that he skated in a game since Nov. 1. Harrison's defensive partner, Grant Clitsome, had a season-high 24:43.

Defensemen Zach Bogosian, Toby Enstrom and Mark Stuart are each out with a lower-body injury, and Jacob Trouba has an upper-body injury.

Seeing an unfamiliar goaltender like Zepp will not change Winnipeg's game plan, according to Maurice.

"Who plays goal isn't going to change how we try to move the puck to the net in our offensive scheme," Maurice said. "We're not a high-scoring hockey [team].

"We won't change what we do, is the short answer to that, but the volume [of shots] we're trying to increase every game. We're trying to get pucks to the net from certain areas and have our offensive game look a certain way. That is the same game plan [even] if Pekka Rinne [of the Nashville Predators] is in net."

Maurice said Saturday that he is comfortable with continuing to rotate goaltenders Michael Hutchinson and Ondrej Pavelec. Maurice will start Pavelec against Philadelphia.

Here are the projected lineups:


Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Brayden Schenn - Scott Laughton - Wayne Simmonds

R.J. Umberger - Sean Couturier - Matt Read

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Vincent Lecavalier

Nicklas Grossmann - Mark Streit

Nick Schultz - Braydon Coburn

Andrew MacDonald - Luke Schenn

Rob Zepp

Ray Emery

Scratched: Carlo Colaiacovo, Michael Del Zotto

Injured: Steve Mason (upper body), Zac Rinaldo (upper body), Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), Ryan White (chest)


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Michael Frolik

Evander Kane - Adam Lowry - Matt Halischuk

Chris Thorburn - Jim Slater - Anthony Peluso

Ben Chiarot - Dustin Byfuglien

Jay Harrison - Grant Clitsome

Adam Pardy - Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Julien Brouillette, TJ Galiardi

Injured: Zach Bogosian (lower body), Toby Enstrom (lower body), Mark Stuart (lower body), Jacob Trouba (upper body)

Status report: Galiardi has been a healthy scratch in 15 of the past 17 games.

Who's hot: Voracek had four assists against Toronto to take the League scoring lead with 42 points. Giroux, Voracek's center, had two goals and two assists against the Maple Leafs…Perreault has a six-game points streak (two goals, four assists).

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