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Neuvirth starts for Flyers against Devils

New Jersey goalie Schneider aims to match NHL high with 26th win

by Mike G. Morreale @MikeMorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

FLYERS (24-21-10) at DEVILS (29-21-7) 

TV: 7 p.m. ET; CSN-PH, MSG+, NHL.TV 

NEWARK, N.J. -- Goaltender Michal Neuvirth will make his second start in three games when the Philadelphia Flyers face the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Tuesday.

Neuvirth made 22 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss against the Devils at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Saturday. Center Jordan Weal will play his fourth game as a member of the Flyers and likely replace Scott Laughton in the lineup. 

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said he is considering a change to his top line to create more balance. The Flyers have scored two or fewer goals in five of their past six games. Philadelphia's top line of Claude Giroux centering Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek has combined for 18 goals and 48 points in the past 15 games. 

"We'll consider [changes] but you won't know the line combinations until game time," Hakstol said. 

Flyers left wing Matt Read, who hurt his left knee after blocking a shot by New York Rangers defenseman Dylan McIlrath on Sunday, is expected to be in the lineup. The Flyers have lost five of the past six games (1-3-2) and will look to end a four-game losing streak (0-2-2) against Metropolitan Division opponents. 

Hakstol believes the Flyers need to play better as a five-man unit over an entire game. 

"It's not always about what the other team is doing, plus we don't control what the other team is doing, so we need to do a better job as a five-man unit through 60 minutes," Hakstol said. "Things tighten up this time of year and you're seeing that, so if you want to consistently produce opportunities through a 60-minute game you have to do things at a high level and do things the right way for 60 minutes." 

New Jersey plays six of its next seven games against teams in the Metropolitan Division. The Devils are 8-8-2 overall and 4-2-2 at home against divisional foes this season. 

Goaltender Cory Schneider, 4-2-1 with a 2.37 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in seven games against Philadelphia, will look to match an NHL high he set last season with his 26th win. Schneider made 31 saves in the win against the Flyers on Saturday; his seventh consecutive game allowing two or fewer goals. 

"My goals-against average is more a testament as to how we play as a group because we're pretty committed every single night defensively," Schneider said. "We as a group feel confident with our play defensively so if they make a mistake I feel confident that I can help them out and they help me out." 

The Devils have an NHL-low 2.18 goals-against average, but also rank last with a 2.19 goals per game average. 

"I haven't really thought about our goals-against average up to this point in the season," Devils coach John Hynes said. "It's one of those things that you can't control. We talk about having commitment throughout our lineup and playing well away from the puck. We've had strong goaltending. When you have a team that takes pride in playing well defensively and is strong in that area, I think it speaks about the character of your team and character of your skill players. 

"We like the fact that while you have different skill sets on the team but the same work ethic." 

In addition to Schneider, another big reason for the Devils' success on defense has been the play of captain Andy Greene and defense partner Adam Larsson. Greene and Larsson haven't been on the ice for an even-strength goal by the opposition for the past five games. 

"They are both great players and I've been fortunate to see Larsson kind of evolve as a player from my first year to where he is now but Greene is more wind him up and let him go because every night it's pretty much the same thing," Schneider said. "He rarely has bad nights and if he does they're not even that bad." 

New Jersey, 5-0-1 in its past six home games, is 5-for-11 on the power play against the Flyers this season. The Devils have converted a League-leading 42.9 percent (12-of-28) with the man advantage in the past 10 games, including 8-of-14 in the past five home games. 

Here are the projected lineups: 


Jakub Voracek - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds 

Matt Read - Nick Cousins - Brayden Schenn   

Michael Raffl - Jordan Weal - R.J. Umberger  

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan White  

Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere  

Nick Schultz - Mark Streit  

Evgeny Medvedev - Radko Gudas  

Michal Neuvirth  

Steve Mason   

Injured: Sean Couturier (lower body), Michael Del Zotto (upper body) 

Scratched: Scott Laughton, Sam Gagner, Brandon Manning  


Joseph Blandisi - Adam Henrique - Lee Stempniak  

Sergey Kalinin - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri  

Reid Boucher - Jacob Josefson - Tyler Kennedy  

Bobby Farnham - Stephen Gionta - Jordin Tootoo  

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson 

John Moore - David Schlemko  

Seth Helgeson - Damon Severson  

Cory Schneider 

Keith Kinkaid  

Injured: Mike Cammalleri (right hand), Stefan Matteau (facial fracture), Jon Merrill (right arm), Patrik Elias (right knee), Jiri Tlusty (right wrist) 

Scratches: Tuomo Ruutu, Eric Gelinas  

Status report: Read said the shot by McIlrath hit him in the back of his left knee but that he is fine. "It's really nothing, just a little bit of swelling but it hasn't affected my skating so I'm good to go," Read said. … Merrill, who has missed the past 11 games, is medically cleared to play but needs some more practice time before returning to the lineup. "It's just a matter of getting in a few more practices and simulating some game situations to make sure I'm ready to go," Merrill said. … Cammalleri will miss his eighth straight game. "Things are progressing in the right direction but it's one of those things where it's going to be every couple days still. It seems like it's going in the right direction, but he's out for sure (against Philadelphia) and then we've got a couple days and we'll see what happens later in the week," Hynes said. 

Who's hot: Gostisbehere has three goals and 15 points during a 12-game point streak that is an NHL record for a rookie defenseman. ... Schlemko has a career-high seven goals and 16 points.

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