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
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
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
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
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