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Preview: Flyers at Blackhawks

Forward Roman Lyubimov could make NHL debut for Philadelphia, Chicago needs to fix penalty kill

by Brian Hedger / Correspondent

FLYERS (1-0-1) at BLACKHAWKS (1-2-0)



Flyers team scope

With forward Brayden Schenn and defenseman Radko Gudas each serving a suspension, the Philadelphia Flyers continue to evaluate players in their absence. Forward Matt Read, who has a goal and eight shots in two games, has been promoted to the third line. He'll play with center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and right wing Dale Weise, who was acquired by Chicago at the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline but not re-signed. Rookie forward Roman Lyubimov, 24, will make his NHL debut after signing with the Flyers as a free agent. "[Lyubimov] is a guy who we've said all the way along deserves to get an opportunity to go into the lineup," coach Dave Hakstol said after the morning skate. "We just feel like this is a good opportunity for him to go in and get an opportunity in game time." Lyubimov played six seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League prior to signing with Philadelphia on July 11. Goalie Michal Neuvirth, who defeated the Blackhawks twice last season, will start. Neuvirth earned the win in the Flyers' season-opening 4-2 victory at the Los Angeles Kings on Friday, making 23 saves. This is the finale of a three-game road trip for the Flyers, who play their home opener against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.


Blackhawks team scope

The Chicago Blackhawks are scrambling to fix their penalty kill, which has allowed seven power-play goals through the first three games. They have killed six of 13 shorthanded situations (46.1 percent). "It hasn't been good enough," center Marcus Kruger said. "It hasn't even been close to being good, so we've got to battle through it." Puck possession is also lagging. Chicago has been outshot in all three games and ranks 22nd in the NHL with a 47.7 shot attempts percentage during 5-on-5 play. "We've just got to get on the same page a little bit more and connect a little bit more," defenseman Brian Campbell said. "I think we're getting outshot probably every game so far, so we need to establish more shots on goal and get going north a little bit more." Forward Richard Panik aims to continue his fast start. He has a Blackhawks-high four goals and is coming off his first NHL hat trick. Goalie Corey Crawford will start.


Flyers projected lineup

Michael Raffl -- Claude Giroux -- Wayne Simmonds

Travis Konecny -- Sean Couturier -- Jakub Voracek

Matt Read -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Dale Weise

Chris VandeVelde -- Boyd Gordon - Roman Lyubimov

Shayne Gostisbehere -- Andrew MacDonald

Ivan Provorov -- Mark Streit

Brandon Manning -- Nick Schultz

Michal Neuvirth

Steve Mason

Scratched: Nick Cousins

Injured: Michael Del Zotto (lower body), Scott Laughton (knee)

Suspended: Radko Gudas, Brayden Schenn


Blackhawks projected lineup

Tyler Motte -- Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Vinnie Hinostroza - Nick Schmaltz - Marian Hossa

Dennis Rasmussen - Marcus Kruger -- Jordin Tootoo

Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Michal Kempny -- Brent Seabrook

Gustav Forsling -- Brian Campbell

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Trevor van Riemsdyk, Michal Rozsival

Injured: Andrew Desjardins (lower body), Ryan Hartman (lower body)


Status report

Cousins, who had two assists against the Kings, is being scratched for the first time this season. Hakstol said it was related to Read's promotion to Cousins' former spot at left wing on the third line. That move created a vacancy at right wing on the fourth line, which Hakstol thinks Lyubimov is better suited to fill. … Tootoo missed practice Monday with an illness but participated in the morning skate and will play. … Hartman also skated Tuesday but will not play. He hopes to return at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.


Who's hot

Konecny and Manning each have three assists to lead the Flyers in scoring through two games. … Panik has four and five points in three games for the Blackhawks.

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