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Preview: Flyers at Devils

Philadelphia aims to close gap in wild-card race; New Jersey hopes to end 10-game losing streak

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

FLYERS (32-29-8) at DEVILS (25-31-12)

7 p.m. ET; MSG+, CSN-PH, TVA Sports, NHL.TV


Flyers team scope

The Philadelphia Flyers are five points behind the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with 13 games remaining. Four players took part in an optional morning skate Thursday after the Flyers ended a three-game losing streak with a 4-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. "We're fighting for our lives, so every game matters," right wing Wayne Simmonds said. "I thought we played well, so we just have to continue it going into New Jersey." Goaltender Steve Mason made 23 saves for his third shutout this season. "We were letting the season slip away, so for us to come up with a big effort and stop the bleeding [against the Penguins] was huge," Mason said. "Hopefully, we can build off of it." Coach Dave Hakstol will announce his starting goalie prior to warmups. Mason is 0-8-0 with a 3.77 goals-against average and .854 save percentage in eight career games against New Jersey. Right wing Dale Weise had a goal and an assist in his first game after being a healthy scratch in six straight. "It gives confidence knowing we can hold a team like [Pittsburgh] to zero goals," Weise said. "[Mason] played great, and we finally get some offense from more guys on the power play."


Devils team scope

The New Jersey Devils have lost a season-high 10 straight games (0-8-2), including seven one-goal defeats. They are 15 points behind the Islanders and Lightning for the second wild card into the playoffs from the East with 14 regular-season games remaining. "We understand what's going on record-wise the past 10 games," coach John Hynes said, "but what we can control is going to be our attitude and work ethic. We're playing the Flyers, a rival, and our focus this week has been to be competitive and get ourselves back in the win column." Goaltender Keith Kinkaid will make his 17th start of the season and first in three games. Kinkaid is 2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and .952 save percentage in two career games against the Flyers. Forward John Quenneville, a first-round pick (No. 30) in the 2014 NHL Draft, was recalled from Albany of the American Hockey League on Wednesday and will make his NHL debut on a line with Pavel Zacha and Stefan Noesen. "The Devils did a great job with me this year, development wise," Quenneville said. "I've gotten a chance to play, feel the puck every night, and have been getting great looks. This opportunity is huge for me. I just want to make the most of it." The Devils are 13-for-38 (34.2 percent) on the man advantage since Feb. 1.


Flyers projected lineup

Nick Cousins -- Claude Giroux -- Wayne Simmonds

Travis Konecny -- Valtteri Filppula -- Jakub Voracek

Brayden Schenn -- Sean Couturier -- Dale Weise

Chris VandeVelde -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Matt Read

Ivan Provorov -- Andrew MacDonald

Nick Schultz -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Michael Del Zotto -- Radko Gudas

Steve Mason 

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Roman Lyubimov

Injured: Jordan Weal (lower body), Brandon Manning (upper body), Michael Raffl (lower body)


Devils projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Travis Zajac -- Kyle Palmieri

Adam Henrique -- Joseph Blandisi -- Beau Bennett

John Quenneville -- Pavel Zacha -- Stefan Noesen

Miles Wood -- Blake Pietila -- Nick Lappin

Andy Greene -- Ben Lovejoy

John Moore -- Damon Severson

Jon Merrill -- Dalton Prout

Keith Kinkaid

Cory Schneider

Scratched: Steven Santini

Injured: Michael Cammalleri (shoulder), Jacob Josefson (upper body), Devante Smith-Pelly (lower body), Blake Coleman (upper body)


Status report

Neuvirth was the only goalie working out at the morning skate, which could indicate Mason will make his fourth straight start. ... Prout will replace Santini in the Devils lineup. … Zajac will return after missing a 5-4 loss at the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday to be with his wife for the birth of their third child. He will center Hall and Palmieri. Cammalleri and Josefson skated on their own but there is no timetable for the return of each. Josefson will miss his seventh straight game, Cammalleri will miss his sixth straight and Smith-Pelly his second straight.


Who's hot

Giroux has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past five games. Gostisbehere has four points (one goal, three assists) in his past four games. ... Palmieri has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in his past 10 games.

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