When I volunteered to do today's game preview, I did so mostly expecting to just post the following image and be done with it:
Flyers in shootouts (@Kurt_BSH) October 25, 2014
Apparently though I'm expected to actually write other things about the hockey contest tonight. So it goes.
The Flyers head into tonight's game against one of their still-new-ish conference opponents, the Detroit Red Wings, off of what was almost certainly their best game of the young season on Wednesday night against Pittsburgh. A lot of things went well that night, and we'll need to see a lot of those same things again tonight against a Red Wings team that's picked up points in six of its first seven games.
From the sounds of things, the lineup up front will be very similar to the one that the team iced on Wednesday, with the lone exception being the absence of Zac Rinaldo due to a lower-body injury suffered against the Penguins. Blair Jones figures to slide into his spot on the fourth line.
But the top three lines should remain largely intact. Sean Couturier and Matt Read received a lot of the praise following Wednesday night's game for their efforts with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and his pals on the second line (Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds) did a number as well. Good efforts from both of those two groups would go a long way tonight against a pretty deep Red Wings lineup.
As you could expect, things will look a little bit different on defense. Reports from this morning's skate had all three defensive pairings looking different than they did last game:
Defense pairs look like Grossmann-Streit, MDZ-Schultz and Gostisbehere-LSchenn. Vinny Lecavalier on the ice too, but he's not playing.— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) October 25, 2014
None of those probably would have been my first choice, but I guess with the guys in the lineup now, every possible option has its obvious drawbacks, so here we are.
Naturally, the biggest story of the evening is what's going on with that third pair, as Shayne Gostisbehere is making his NHL debut and will apparently do so alongside one Luke Schenn. Gostisbehere will also, per further practice reports, slide right into Andrew MacDonald's spot on the second power play unit. How many minutes he plays and in what kinds of situations he's used in remains to be seen, but WHO CARES GHOSTBEAR IS PLAYING TONIGHT YOU GUYS.
Oh, and also: Ray Emery will be making his second straight start. Emery started two consecutive games exactly zero times last season (not including the playoffs where Steve Mason was hurt). Sign of some potential unhappiness with Mason's play? Rewarding Emery for a good start in Pittsburgh? Who knows. But still, interesting to see.
As for the Red Wings, they're still good. Jonas Gustavsson is in net for some reason or another but keeping up with them will be hard as it always is. Henrik Zetterberg has been tearing it up to start the season, Gustav Nyquist is still scoring every other time he touches the puck, and Pavel Datsyuk is still doing things like this. However, they've lost eight games in a row in Philadelphia, so that's neat if you're interested in such things.
Puck drop at 7. Go Flyers.
Detroit Red Wings at Philadelphia Flyers
7 p.m. ET | 4 p.m. PT
Wells Fargo Center | South Philadelphia
In Philly: CSN Philly, 97.5 The Fanatic, SiriusXM
In Detroit: Fox Sports Detroit, 97.1 FM/1270 AM, SiriusXM
Everywhere else: SN 360 (Canada), GameCenter Live
Get Detroit coverage over at Winging It In Motown