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Preview: Flyers at Panthers

Philadelphia adjusts top two lines; Nick Bjugstad makes season debut at right wing for Florida

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

FLYERS (8-8-3) at PANTHERS (10-8-1)

7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, FS-F, CSN-PH, NHL.TV


Flyers team scope

The Philadelphia Flyers will adjust their first two lines with right wing Jakub Voracek moving to the top line with Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn, and Wayne Simmonds moving to a line with Sean Couturier and rookie Travis Konecny. "I don't think there should be too much spotlight on it," coach Dave Hakstol said. "That group of six, they've been interchanged and all have played together at one point in time. It's a good time to make the change for our team." Defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who missed the first 12 games of the season because of a knee injury, will be a healthy scratch. "There have been stretches of excellent play," Hakstol said, "and there's been some areas of his game that he needs to clean up." Goalie Steve Mason will start for the Flyers.


Panthers team scope

Florida Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad will make his season debut at a new position. Bjugstad, a center since his days at the University of Minnesota, will play right wing on a line with rookie center Denis Malgin and left wing Colton Sceviour. "We've talked about that the last couple of years," coach Gerard Gallant said. "He played a few shifts there last year. We'll give him a shot over there. He's a big, powerful guy that can skate real well. I think it'll be exciting for him. The way he skates down the wing and shoots the puck, it should be good for us." Bjugstad missed the first 19 games because of a wrist injury he sustained in a preseason game against the Dallas Stars on Sept. 27. "Just excited," Bjugstad said. "I woke up with a jump in my step this morning. It's been a long time. Obviously I've been watching all the games. Kind of sick of watching, although they've been fun to watch as of late. So it'll be fun to join them at this point. I tried to stay positive every day and I was on my skates quite a bit, so I should be in shape and I should have my legs." Defenseman Keith Yandle is expected to play in his 571st consecutive regular-season game, which would move him past Mark Recchi for sole possession of the 11th-longest streak in NHL history.


Flyers projected lineup

Brayden Schenn -- Claude Giroux -- Jakub Voracek

Travis Konecny -- Sean Couturier -- Wayne Simmonds

Michael Raffl -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Matt Read

Chris VandeVelde -- Nick Cousins -- Dale Weise

Andrew MacDonald -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Ivan Provorov -- Mark Streit

Brandon Manning -- Radko Gudas

Steve Mason

Anthony Stolarz

Scratched: Roman Lyubimov, Michael Del Zotto, Nick Schultz

Injured: Michal Neuvirth (knee), Boyd Gordon (back)

Panthers projected lineup

Jussi Jokinen -- Aleksander Barkov -- Jaromir Jagr

Jonathan Marchessault -- Vincent Trocheck -- Reilly Smith

Colton Sceviour -- Denis Malgin -- Nick Bjugstad

Greg McKegg -- Derek MacKenzie -- Kyle Rau

Keith Yandle -- Jason Demers

Michael Matheson -- Aaron Ekblad

Jakub Kindl -- Mark Pysyk

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

Scratched: Shawn Thornton, Seth Griffith, Dylan McIlrath

Injured: Jonathan Huberdeau (lower leg), Alex Petrovic (ankle)

Status report

VandeVelde will be in the lineup after leaving the Flyers' 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday with a head injury and to be evaluated for a concussion. VandeVelde, who has a black eye, said X-rays revealed no break in his orbital bone. … Petrovic had surgery to repair a broken ankle Tuesday and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

Who's hot

Raffl has goals in two of his past three games. …. Mason is 7-3-2 with a 2.03 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage in 12 games against Florida. … Ekblad has three goals in his past four games. He has four goals in November, tied with Brent Burns for most among NHL defensemen. … Florida has killed off 30 of 33 power plays (90.9 percent) in November, the fifth-best percentage in the League during that span. … Barkov has six assists in his past seven games.

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