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Flyers try to end six-game slide when they visit Jets

by Patrick Williams /

FLYERS (4-6-3) at JETS (8-4-2)


WINNIPEG -- The Philadelphia Flyers will attempt to end their six-game losing streak Saturday as they finish a five-game road trip against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.

With the Flyers playing for the seventh time in 12 nights, coach Dave Hakstol will again start goaltender Michal Neuvirth. Steve Mason is recovering from an illness, and Neuvirth has started the past two games.

"[Mason] hasn't had a whole lot of work," Hakstol said. "[Neuvirth] is going well. He has played well, he's in a rhythm, and that is why he is going [Saturday]."

Hakstol will also insert forward Sam Gagner into the lineup in place of Vincent Lecavalier.

Reviving the power play will be another key for the Flyers, who rank 29th in the NHL at 10.5 percent on the power play and have not scored in their past seven games. Philadelphia, stuck in an 0-4-2 stretch, does not have a goal in its past 16 power-play opportunities.

The Jets return home for one game sandwiched between a couple of four-game road trips. They finished a 2-1-1 road trip, and the game Saturday will be their fifth consecutive game against an Eastern Conference opponent before they undertake a four-game Central Division road trip next week.

"The first game getting off the road is usually a tough one," Jets captain Andrew Ladd said. "I think it starts [Saturday] in the morning skate. You try to get your legs and everything back under you. I think that these days, you rely on your routine and what you're used to."

Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice will make two changes to his lineup. Defenseman Paul Postma will make his season debut and replace Ben Chiarot. Maurice will pair Postma with veteran Mark Stuart. Fourth-line center Nic Petan will also come out of the Winnipeg lineup because of illness. Patrice Cormier will replace Petan.

"Both [Postma] and Adam Pardy have really pushed themselves and stayed ready, so we're excited about Paul's opportunity here [Saturday]," Maurice said.

"We know he's ready. We've talked a lot about how we can get [Pardy and Postma] in the lineup when overall we've liked how our defense has played."

Maurice also likes the pairing of Tyler Myers and Jacob Trouba and will continue with it against Philadelphia. Each player is a right-handed shot, but Myers will play on the left side. Maurice had been considering the idea for some time and paired Myers and Trouba in the third period of a 3-2 shootout loss against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

"We just like the way that they looked," Maurice said. "It's easier to get them the minutes that we think they deserve in their development."

Maurice will continue his goaltending rotation and start Ondrej Pavelec.

Here are the projected lineups:


Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds

RJ Umberger - Brayden Schenn - Sam Gagner

Chris VandeVelde - Scott Laughton - Ryan White

Michael Del Zotto - Mark Streit

Nick Schultz - Luke Schenn

Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas

Michal Neuvirth

Steve Mason

Injured: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (lower body), Evgeny Medvedev (upper body)

Scratched: Davis Drewiske, Vincent Lecavalier


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Nikolaj Ehlers

Alexander Burmistrov - Adam Lowry - Drew Stafford

Chris Thorburn - Patrice Cormier - Anthony Peluso

Toby Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien

Tyler Myers - Jacob Trouba

Mark Stuart - Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back), Andrew Copp (upper body), Nic Petan (illness)

Scratched: Ben Chiarot, Adam Pardy

Status report: Hakstol will use Gagner on the second power-play unit. … Maurice said he expects Petan to be able to practice Monday. Copp will skate Monday as well. He has missed the past three games, but Maurice said it will still be three or four days until a more definitive timeline for Copp's return can be set.

Who's hot: Byfuglien has scored in each of the past two games.

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