NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, October 12th (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (1-4-0) at Detroit Red Wings (2-2-0), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers try to get their lackluster offense going in the right direction on Saturday, when they visit the Detroit Red Wings for an Eastern Conference clash at Joe Louis Arena.
The Flyers are 1-4-0 on the season and have scored a total of six goals in those contests, giving the team a dubious franchise record for fewest goals in the first five games of a campaign.
Things haven't changed much since head coach Peter Laviolette was fired after three games and replaced by Craig Berube. The Flyers were 0-3 with three goals with Laviolette behind the bench and are 1-1 under Berube with three goals over the last two games.
After posting a 2-1 home win over Florida on Tuesday for its first win of the season, Philadelphia lost by the same score to visiting Phoenix on Friday. Oliver Ekman-Larsson's power-play goal late in the second period broke a tie and lifted the Coyotes to the close win at Wells Fargo Center.
Maxime Talbot netted the lone goal for the Flyers, while Steve Mason made 29 saves in defeat.
"Phoenix plays really tight hockey and they came in and played well," said Talbot. "They played solid defensively, and we worked hard. We did some good things but it's a process and we have to keep building."
Philadelphia will try to break out of its scoring slump on Saturday without the help of forwards Scott Hartnell and Vincent Lecavalier, who were both injured in Friday's game against Phoenix. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said both players will miss about a week of action.
Lecavalier sustained a lower-body injury, while Hartnell is dealing with an upper-body issue.
While the Flyers try to rebound from their first defeat under Berube, the Red Wings hope to avoid their third loss in a row on Saturday. Detroit began the 2013-14 campaign with wins over Buffalo and Carolina, but has since dropped consecutive tilts against Boston and Phoenix to fall to 2-2-0 on the young season.
Detroit hosted the Coyotes on Thursday evening and held a 2-1 lead early in the second period before surrendering three unanswered goals to Phoenix in the 4-2 setback. Michael Stone broke a tie game with 4:47 remaining in the third period for Phoenix and Antoine Vermette added an empty-netter to seal at a few minutes later.
Detroit received 34 saves from Jimmy Howard in the loss. Joakim Andersson and Jonathan Ericsson accounted for the team's two scores.
"We didn't spend a ton of time in their zone," Detroit's Daniel Cleary said.
With the score tied at 2-2 after 40 minutes, both Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith and Howard were sharp during a third period in which neither team could find the back of the net for the first 15-plus minutes. Stone ended the drought, however, by taking a drop pass from Mike Ribeiro and firing a well- placed drive from near the blueline that landed over Howard's right shoulder and in.
Howard has started all four games for the Red Wings this season, but Jonas Gustavsson, the team's regular backup, could see action soon. Gustavsson had been sidelined with a groin injury since the preseason, but was activated on Friday and is ready to go when needed. Petr Mrazek had been suiting up as the backup to Howard in the first four games but never made it on the ice.
Although Gustavsson is available on Saturday, Howard expects to make his fifth straight start for Detroit.
The Flyers have won three of four and four of the last six meetings against the Red Wings, but Detroit has dominated this series on its home ice in recent years. The Wings are 15-1-0 with two ties in their last 18 games against Philadelphia at Joe Louis Arena.
This is the first meeting between the clubs since the NHL's realignment plan moved Detroit from the Western Conference to the East.
10/12 10:33:08 ET