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Preview: Flyers at Wild

Minnesota can clinch playoff berth with win against Philadelphia

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

FLYERS (33-31-8) at WILD (44-22-6)

8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, CSN-PH, NHL.TV

 

Flyers team scope

The Philadelphia Flyers are eight points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with 10 games remaining. They'll have defenseman Brandon Manning in the lineup after he missed five games because of an upper-body injury. Manning has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 57 games and will be paired with Radko Gudas. "We're playing a heavy team tonight," coach Dave Hakstol said. "They've got some size up front and they're a heavy team down low, so we'll need that pair to play that way. They've got to be an abrasive pair. They have to be on the heavy side defensively." The Flyers are keeping their focus narrow because of their standing in the playoff race. "[I'm telling the players] just to concentrate on what we're doing today," Hakstol said. "Focus everything that we're doing on the two points in the hockey game tonight." Goalie Steve Mason will make his seventh straight start, 11th in the past 12 games.

 

Wild team scope

The Minnesota Wild can clinch a playoff berth with a win. They also can get in if they get one point and the Los Angeles Kings lose to the Winnipeg Jets in any fashion (10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, TSN3, NHL.TV), or if the Kings lose in regulation. "If we don't get that asterisk (for clinching) by our name, it's not very good," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "My expectations for this team are a lot higher." The Wild are six points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference with one game in hand. Forward Eric Staal has been an offensive catalyst with seven points (five goals, two assists) in his past seven games. "I feel good," he said. "Since the [five-day break Feb. 22-26], I've felt like I've got great energy and jump. When the puck starts going in, you want it to continue to keep that confidence because it's important down the stretch and going into the playoffs." Goaltender Devan Dubnyk will play in his 16th straight game and make his seventh consecutive start. 

 

Flyers projected lineup

Matt Read -- Claude Giroux -- Jakub Voracek

Jordan Weal -- Valtteri Filppula -- Wayne Simmonds

Brayden Schenn -- Sean Couturier -- Dale Weise

Chris VandeVelde -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Travis Konecny

Ivan Provorov -- Andrew MacDonald

Nick Schultz -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Brandon Manning -- Radko Gudas

Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Roman Lyubimov, Michael Del Zotto

Injured: Michael Raffl (lower body), Nick Cousins (upper body)

 

Wild projected lineup

Charlie Coyle -- Eric Staal -- Zach Parise

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Nino Niederreiter -- Martin Hanzal -- Jason Pominville

Chris Stewart -- Erik Haula -- Jordan Schroeder

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella -- Matt Dumba

Jonas Brodin -- Gustav Olofsson

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Ryan White, Nate Prosser, Christian Folin

Injured: Victor Bartley (arm)

 

Status report

The Flyers changed three of their lines at practice Wednesday, moving Giroux between Read and Voracek, and Filppula between Weal and Simmonds. Konecny was moved to Read's spot on the fourth line. … Folin and White skated but are unlikely to return to the lineup until this weekend or later, according to Boudreau.

 

Who's hot

Couturier has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past five games. ... Giroux has eight points (two goals, six assists) in his past eight games. … Granlund has 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in his past 16 games. ... Parise has four assists during a three-game point streak.

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