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Flyers-Jets preview: Intriguing matchup of top-line centers

The Flyers have lost three of their last four games and are trying to climb out of the Metropolitan Division basement.

Center Sean Couturier leads the Flyers with 10 goals and a plus-13 rating.
Center Sean Couturier leads the Flyers with 10 goals and a plus-13 rating.Read moreYONG KIM

Jets (10-4-3) vs. Flyers (8-8-2)

WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday.

WHERE: Bell MTS Place.


SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Twitter, @BroadStBull; @samdonnellon.

KEY PLAYERS: There will be an interesting matchup between the teams' top-line centers: Sean Couturier and Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele. Each lead their team with 10 goals.

In the 2011 draft, Couturier was selected No. 8 overall — one spot after Scheifele.

Patrik Laine (nine goals) has a six-game point streak for the Jets, who are led by Blake Wheeler's 23 points, including 18 assists.

While it would make great theater if former Flyers goalie Steve Mason (1-3-1) got the start for the Jets, the sizzling Connor Hellebuyck (9-1-2) will get the nod. Hellebuyck has a 2.32 GAA and .930 save percentage. He will face Brian Elliott, who will make his fourth straight start.

The Flyers have been shut out in their last two games and haven't scored in 156 minutes and 9 seconds. In franchise history, they have never been blanked in three consecutive games.

Jake Voracek (21 points), Claude Giroux (20), and Couturier (19) pace the Flyers, and Shayne Gostisbehere has 15 points in 15 games.

The Flyers will get rookie center Nolan Patrick back in the lineup. He missed nine straight games with a concussion.

Patrick, Dale Weise and Travis Sanheim all grew up in Manitoba.

THINGS TO KNOW: Winnipeg is averaging 3.29 goals per game, tied for ninth in the NHL, while the Flyers are 22nd, averaging 2.78 goals per game….The Flyers are third in the league in winning faceoffs (53 percent), and the Jets are tied for 10th (51.1 percent)…..Wayne Simmonds, who has been battling numerous injuries, is trying to snap a 10-game goal-less streak.

HEAD TO HEAD: The Flyers have a 39-12-8 advantage over Winnipeg/Atlanta (Thrashers) in the all-time series. A year ago, the teams split the two-game series, with each winning on its home ice. Mason started both games for the Flyers. Hellebuyck dropped a 5-2 decision (with an empty-net goal) in his only game against the Flyers last season.


Saturday: 1 p.m. vs. Calgary.

Tuesday: 7 p.m. vs. Vancouver.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. at New York Islanders.