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Flyers' Simmonds to play in opener at Bruins

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- The Philadelphia Flyers know how much their 1-7-0 start from last season hurt them.

They recovered enough to finish third in the Metropolitan Division but then lost to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference First Round.

A better start is a huge point of emphasis for the Flyers when they open the 2014-15 season against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) at TD Garden.

"I think obviously we talk about it without wanting to talk about it," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said after the morning skate. "We just talk how hard it was to get back in the playoffs. And as much fun as it was, I think we don't want to put ourselves in that situation again. And we need to make sure we put ourselves in a better position halfway through the season."

The Flyers lineup will be at full strength because forward Wayne Simmonds' lower-body injury has healed and he will play against the Bruins. Simmonds was in a walking boot not too long ago, and when he was first injured there were fears he might miss an extended period of time.

"You never know what's going to happen," Simmonds said. "Obviously I kept my hopes up, kept optimistic and just kept working towards the goal of getting back into the lineup [Wednesday]."

The Bruins are not as fortunate health-wise heading into the opener. Center David Krejci starts the season on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury and center Gregory Campbell is on non-roster injured reserve with a core injury. The injuries have created a chance for center Ryan Spooner to start the season in the NHL for the first time and for 32-year-old forward Bobby Robins possibly to make his NHL debut.

He started his career in professional hockey in 2005.

"It took me nine, 10 years. ... Makes it feel even that much better knowing that I invested all that time in blood, sweat and tears and hard work," Robins said.

Flyers center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, a native of France, is set to make his NHL debut at 29 years old. He said it still hasn't sunk in that he's made it to the NHL after several years in the Swedish Hockey League.

"It's hard. I don't know if I really realized what's going on," he said. "It might because so many years you don't realize that ... it's ever going to happen to you."

Here are the projected lineups:


Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronReilly Smith

Chris KellyCarl SoderbergLoui Eriksson

Milan LucicRyan SpoonerMatt Fraser

Daniel PailleCraig CunninghamBobby Robins

Zdeno CharaDougie Hamilton

Dennis SeidenbergAdam McQuaid

Torey KrugKevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Niklas Svedberg

Scratched: Matt Bartkowski

Injured: David Krejci (undisclosed), Gregory Campbell (core)


Brayden SchennClaude GirouxJakub Voracek

Matt ReadSean CouturierWayne Simmonds

Michael RafflVincent LecavalierR.J. Umberger

Zac Rinaldo - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Jason Akeson

Braydon Coburn - Andrew MacDonald

Mark Streit - Nicklas Grossmann

Luke Schenn - Michael Del Zotto

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Scratched: Nick Schultz

Injured: Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), Ryan White (torn pectoral muscle)

Status report: Krejci cannot return to the Bruins lineup until after the game against the Washington Capitals on Saturday. Bruins coach Claude Julien did not have an update on when Krejci is expected to come back. ... Campbell skated prior to the Bruins' morning skate.

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