Skip to main content

Struggling Flyers will play Medvedev vs. Predators

by Adam Kimelman / NHL.com

PREDATORS (12-6-3) at FLYERS (7-10-5)

TV: SN, FS-TN, CSN-PH

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers will have three lineup changes against the Nashville Predators on Friday at Wells Fargo Center.

Nick Cousins, recalled from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on Friday, will replace Taylor Leier. He'll center a line with Scott Laughton moving from center to left wing. Colin McDonald will play right wing.

Cousins, 22, had six shots on goal in 11 games with the Flyers last season. He leads Lehigh Valley with 13 assists and 18 points in 15 AHL games this season.

"He makes a lot of good little plays," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of Cousins. "I guess what you want to see in your centermen, he's pretty patient inside of the dots, he's available in terms of breakouts in transition. I think he's smart with that next play on our side of the red line. And I think he's competitive as hell."

Hakstol said moving Laughton to the wing is an attempt to find some offense. He has gone six games without a point, and has one goal in his past 10 games.

"Things haven't come easy for him the last couple weeks," Hakstol said. "Let's change it up a little bit, give him a little different look. Is it a challenge to go to left wing? Yes it is. But also it simplifies things a little bit and it's an opportunity."

The Flyers also will insert defenseman Evgeny Medvedev into the lineup in place of Brandon Manning. Medvedev has sat out 11 of the past 12 games because of injury and ineffective play. But Hakstol said Thursday that the Flyers are looking for more offense from the group of defensemen, and that's one of the strengths of Medvedev's game.

However, pairing Medvedev with Gostisbehere could create as many changes-against as chances-for. Hakstol said the 33-year-old Medvedev will be relied upon to be the more defensive-minded player in the pairing.

"[Medvedev] has got to do a good job defensively," Hakstol said. "That's one of the real focuses. He's got to be a little bit harder to play against, he's got to be a little cleaner in his own zone and take care of that end of things. Whether he's new to the NHL this year or not he's the veteran on the pair and he has to carry himself that way."

With the Flyers on the front end of a back-to-back, Michal Neuvirth will start in goal against the Predators. Steve Mason is expected to be in goal at the New York Rangers on Saturday.

The Predators are expected to insert center Colton Sissons into the lineup in place of Paul Gaustad, who sustained an upper-body injury in the second period of their game Wednesday at the Buffalo Sabres.

Sissons was recalled from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League on Thursday. He had one goal in five NHL games last month.

Here are the projected lineups:

PREDATORS

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - James Neal

Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Craig Smith

Gabriel Bourque - Calle Jarnkrok - Cody Hodgson

Eric Nystrom - Colton Sissons - Austin Watson

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Barret Jackman - Seth Jones

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Injured: Paul Gaustad (upper body), Miikka Salomaki (upper body)

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto, Victor Bartley

FLYERS

Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Brayden Schenn

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Jakub Voracek

Nick Cousins - Scott Laughton - Colin McDonald

Michael Del Zotto - Radko Gudas

Nick Schultz - Luke Schenn

Evgeny Medvedev - Shayne Gostisbehere

Michal Neuvirth

Steve Mason

Injured: Ryan White (upper body), R.J. Umberger (lower body), Mark Streit (groin), Sam Gagner (upper body)

Scratched: Vincent Lecavalier, Brandon Manning

Status report: To make room for Cousins, the Flyers sent Leier to the AHL. In six games, Leier had three shots on goal and averaged 7:43 of ice time per game. ... To make room for Sissons on the roster, the Predators placed Salomaki on injured reserve Thursday.

Who's hot: Wilson had three goals in two games against the Flyers last season. ... Giroux has two goals and two assists in his past two games.

Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

View More