Flyers-Wild Preview: No Parise, but lots of Zucker
This the first of a home and home between the Flyers and the Wild (6-7-2), who are finishing up a four-game, six-day road trip. The Flyers will visit Minnesota Tuesday night. Jason Zucker has scored the last five Minnesota goals, including a hat trick in their 3-0 victory over Montreal Thursday night. It's the first time in the Wild's short franchise history a player has done that, and it included a short-handed goal, a power play goal, and a game-winner. Minnesota has four shorthanded goals this season, all coming over its last eight games. They are tied for first in the NHL in that category. The Wild are missing Zach Parise, who is out until January after undergoing back surgery. Goaltender Alex Stalock, who left the team on Tuesday to be with his wife for the birth of their second child, is expected to get the start.
The Flyers (8-6-2) are coming off an impressive 3-1 victory over the Blackhawks Thursday at home in which they dominated the first 30 minutes of play. It followed a four-day layoff. Their first line is second to Tampa's, statistically in the NHL, but the other three lines have gone stone cold. Wayne Simmonds still seems bothered by earlier injuries to his leg, and Travis Konecny, who has been omnipresent everywhere but the scoreboard, could use a lucky goal to get out of his own head. After struggling through a rash of injuries, the Flyers young defense stood up admirably against Chicago's fast-playing offense. Rookie Travis Sanheim was particularly steady after some early season problems with pace and risk/reward. After another absence from regular team practice Friday, it seems less likely Nolan Patrick will accompany the team on the two-game road swing that takes the Flyers to the rookie's hometown of Winnipeg.
Flyers: Sean Couturier (10 goals, 19 points, +14), Jake Voracek (4-21, +7), Claude Giroux (9-20, +7), Ivan Provorov (2-8, TOI 24:43), Shayne Gostisbehere (1-15, +4, TOI 21:30). Voracek also has 17 points in 19 career games against the Wild. Career against the Wild, Elliott is 9-2 with a 2.07 GAA and .915 save percentage. in his career against the Wild.
Minnesota: Jason Zucker (8 goals, 13 points, +5), Eric Staal (5-12, +1), Jared Spurgeon (2-10, -4), Jonas Brodin (1-1, +8), Mathew Dumba (0-6, +6). Brodin's plus-8 rating was tied for 6th among NHL defensemen entering play Friday. His 37 blocked shots also leads the Wild and was tied for ninth among NHL defensemen prior to Friday's games. Spurgeon has averaged 25:02 in ice time and leads the Wild in assists with eight.
Head to Head
The Wild are 6-13-2 against the Flyers in their brief existence including two losses last season. The Flyers beat Minnesota 3-2 here almost a year to the date (11/12/16), and won the March 23 rematch 3-1. The Flyers are 9-3 lifetime against Minnesota at the Wells Fargo Center.
How to watch and follow the game.
TV: NBC Philadelphia 7:00
RADIO – 93.3 FM
Twitter: @BroadStBull @samdonnellon
Flyers upcoming games
@Minnesota Nov. 14
@ Winnipeg Nov. 16