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Flyers vs. Devils preview: Road swing begins against woeful New Jersey

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The Devils have lost seven straight.

Nashville Predators v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

A night after a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over the Washington Capitals, the Flyers are up the Turnpike for another Metropolitan Division matchup against the New Jersey Devils.

It’s technically the first game of a four-game road trip, but with a Christmas break ahead of them, the Flyers will return home for the weekend before heading west next week.

After nearly a month without playing any divisional opponents, this will be the second in two nights for Philadelphia. They will likely have the same lineup that we saw on Wednesday, although since it’s a back-to-back we could see Anthony Stolarz in net for the Flyers. There’s no morning skate today so we are unsure of lineups.

When we talk about that 10 game win streak the Flyers went on ending last week, we come back to the fact that they didn’t really make up much ground in the division with the Capitals, Rangers, Penguins and Blue Jackets also playing obscenely well of late. But that streak did help the Flyers create a gap between themselves and teams like New Jersey that are chasing them in the division.

The Devils are ... not very good. They are a full 13 points behind the Flyers already, down with the New York Islanders at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They are third-worst in the conference in both goals-scored and goals-allowed so far this season, and they are 26th in the NHL in possession. Their penalty kill is solid, at 10th in the league, but their power play is down at 25th. There’s just not a whole lot that this team does well. One silver lining is that they are 8-2-2 at home, but ... well ...

Let’s talk about their recent results: they are 0-6-1 since December 8. Over that stretch, they’ve scored just nine goals — and have scored no more than two goals in any game over that period. They have allowed 25 goals. They are bad.

So, naturally, this will probably be a tough one for the Flyers tonight. Nothing about the New Jersey Devils excites me. They are merely an annoying mosquito on your arm, and every time, they fly away half a second before you swat.

Tonight’s game is on the Comcast Network locally, as well as 97.5 The Fanatic and 104.1 FM at the South Jersey Shore. If you are in North Jersey or New York, the game is on MSG Plus. NHL.tv and NHL Center Ice have you covered elsewhere.

Flyers lineup

Forwards
  1. Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek
  2. Travis Konecny - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds
  3. Taylor Leier - Nick Cousins - Dale Weise
  4. Chris VandeVelde - P-E Bellemare - Roman Lyubimov
Defense
  1. Andrew MacDonald - Ivan Provorov
  2. Brandon Manning - Shayne Gostisbehere
  3. Michael Del Zotto - Radko Gudas
Goalies
  1. Steve Mason ?
  2. Anthony Stolarz ?

Scratches: Boyd Gordon, Nick Schultz

Injuries: Sean Couturier, Michal Neuvirth, Meat Read, Mark Streit

New Jersey lineup

Forwards
  1. Taylor Hall - Travis Zajac - Mike Cammalleri
  2. Miles Wood - Adam Henrique - Kyle Palmieri
  3. Beau Bennett - Pavel Zacha - P.A. Parenteau
  4. Sergey Kalinin - Vern Fiddler - Nick Lappin
Defense
  1. Andy Greene - Ben Lovejoy
  2. John Moore - Damon Severson
  3. Jon Merrill - Seth Helgeson
Goalies
  1. Cory Schneider
  2. Keith Kinkaid