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Flyers vs. Flames preview: Let’s get back in the win column

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Johnny Hockey comes to town as Flyers look to shake a three-game losing skid.

Kate Frese / SBNation
Kate Frese / SBNation

The Flyers look to end a three-game losing skid when they host the Flames for a Saturday matinee from the Wells Fargo Center.

Fresh off a shootout loss to the Jets in Winnipeg, the Flyers return back home to face a Flames team that has had some interesting results lately. Calgary gave up eight goals in a loss to Detroit last time out, but also scored seven goals in a win against St. Louis and six goals in a win over the Red Wings in their last three games.

The Flyers hold an edge in both special teams departments, where the Flames have the

worst penalty kill in the league at just 70.8% through 18 games. The Flyers were able to get some traction on the man-advantage against the Jets and should have success against the Flames given the opportunity.

Despite awful special teams numbers, the Flames are seventh in the league in Corsi For (52.45%) and 11th in Expected Goals For (35.47). Those numbers suggest they’ve been rather unlucky in the early going, and their team shooting percentage of just 7% is the eight-worst in the league (the Flyers are ninth-worst, by the way).

Johnny Gaudreau hasn’t been unlucky, however, and leads the Flames with eight goals and 18 assists for 26 points through 18 games. Third-year center Sean Monahan has been on fire as well, with eight goals and eight assists, to form a dangerous duo for coach Glen Gulutzan.

We might as well mention that former Flyer great (CC: Sam Carchidi) and international hockey icon Jaromir Jagr has five points (1G, 4A) in nine games since joining the Flames.

As for the Flyers, they delivered a strong territorial performance at even strength against the Jets (56.67% Corsi For at 5v5) but paid the price for failing to build on their early 2-0 lead against a potent offense and ending up with just one point out of a solid effort in the ‘Peg.

The Flyers will be without the services of Radko Gudas, who will likely be suspended stemming from his game misconduct against the Jets for slashing. Gudas’ hearing will take place on Sunday, but he cannot play while waiting for it, so he’ll be out of the lineup today. Andrew MacDonald, who has been on injured reserve, could be activated to take Gudas’ spot in the lineup as the veteran has been getting closer to game action for a few days now.

If MacDonald isn’t a go, Mark Alt—who has been up with the Flyers as a scratch—could draw back in the lineup in place of Gudas. Depending on the status of MacDonald and the possible length of Gudas’ suspension, the Flyers could opt to call up Sam Morin form Lehigh Valley as well, though at this point that looks unlikely.

Brian Elliott was terrific in net for the third-straight game on Thursday and should draw back between the pipes for coach Dave Hakstol against the team he suited up for a year ago. He’s 8-3-0 with a 1.69 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage to go along with two shutouts in his career against the Flames.

Flyers projected lines:

Forwards

Giroux - Couturier - Voracek

Weal - Filppula - Konecny

Weise - Patrick - Simmonds

Leier - Laughton - Raffl

Defense

Gostisbehere - Manning

Sanheim - Alt/MacDonald

Goalies

Elliott

Neuvirth

Loose pucks

Claude Giroux has been a point-per-game player against the Flames (2G, 10A in 12 games) … Johnny Gaudreau has a goal and five assists for six points in five career games against Philadelphia … Like Radko Gudas, Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk will be sitting today’s game out, as he was suspended one game by NHL Player Safety for his actions in their 8-2 loss to Detroit.