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Preview: Flyers at Flames

Philadelphia trying to solve scoring woes; Calgary looks to improve at home amid playoff chase

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com Correspondent

FLYERS (27-22-7) at FLAMES (28-26-3)

9:30 p.m. ET; SN360, SNW, TCN-PH, NHL.TV

 

Flyers team scope

The Philadelphia Flyers begin a three-game Pacific Division road trip at the Calgary Flames two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. "You have the mentality that every game is the most important game of the season," captain Claude Giroux said. "We're coming on the road here and it would be great to start with a win." The Flyers have won two of their past three road games but are 2-8-2 in their past 12. "We had a homestand there and we really refocused on how we wanted to be as a team," Giroux said. "Tonight's a great test for us to see how we do on the road. Obviously we need these wins to climb back into a playoff spot. For us it's just about getting better." The Flyers have allowed seven goals in their past four games but have scored three. "It happens sometimes," forward Wayne Simmonds said. "We've just fell on some hard times scoring goals. We've played great defensively. Now we have to get the whole game going together." Goalie Michal Neuvirth is expected to start for Philadelphia. He is 9-5-1 with a 2.67 goals-against average and .897 save percentage this season.

 

Flames team scope

Calgary trails the Los Angeles Kings by one point for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference and is three points behind the Nashville Predators for the first wild card. Nashville has played one fewer game and Los Angeles has played two fewer. "It's got to be a desperate game for us," captain Mark Giordano said. "Points are huge for us. We know what time of year it is. Philadelphia is going to come in here in a similar position as we are. They're battling for playoffs. I think you're going to see two desperate teams tonight." The Flames have lost three of their past four games at Scotiabank Saddledome and are 14-14-0 at home this season. "Your home record has to be good to get in in this league," Giordano said. "That's the bottom line. I think every once in a while it happens that a team can get in without a good home record, but we've got to take care of business at home and create some momentum for ourselves here and get going." Goalie Brian Elliott will start for the Flames. Elliott is 11-13-2 with a 2.85 GAA and .895 save percentage. Forward Sean Monahan, at 22 years, 126 days old, is one goal from becoming the youngest player in Flames history to score 100. Joe Nieuwendyk was 22 years, 185 days when he scored his 100th on March 14, 1989.

 

Flyers projected lineup

Brayden Schenn -- Claude Giroux -- Wayne Simmonds

Jordan Weal -- Sean Couturier -- Jakub Voracek

Michael Raffl -- Nick Cousins -- Matt Read

Chris VandeVelde -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Roman Lyubimov

Ivan Provorov -- Andrew MacDonald

Mark Streit -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Brandon Manning -- Radko Gudas

Michal Neuvirth

Steve Mason

Scratched: Dale Weise, Nick Schultz, Michael Del Zotto

Injured: Travis Konecny (lower body)

 

Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Troy Brouwer

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Kris Versteeg -- Sam Bennett -- Alex Chiasson

Lance Bouma -- Matt Stajan -- Micheal Ferland

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Deryk Engelland

Brett Kulak -- Dennis Wideman

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Garnet Hathaway, Freddie Hamilton, Jyrki Jokipakka

Injured: None

 

Status report

Del Zotto is healthy after missing nine games with a lower-body injury but will not play. Lyubimov will play in place of Weise on Philadelphia's fourth line. … Bouma will enter the lineup on Calgary's fourth line in place of Hathaway. … The Flames signed defenseman Matt Bartkowski to a professional tryout Wednesday.

 

Who's hot

Simmonds has scored in back-to-back games. Voracek has an assist in back-to-back games. … Backlund has scored a goal and three assists in his past four games.

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