The Philadelphia Flyers are going to be playing their first game since the firing of Peter Laviolette as their head coach against the Florida Panthers tonight at 7:00. With a new coach, the Flyers look to turn things around tonight and win their first game of the season.
The Flyers fired Peter Laviolette Monday morning after the team lost its first three games of the season. The team's performance last season, during the preseason and through the first three games this year were all taken into consideration when the decision was made.
Taking Laviolette's place as the head coach will be Craig Berube, who has served as the assistant coach for the Flyers. Ian Laperriere will now be an assistant coach.
Berube made it known that he is going to hold players accountable. It will be interesting to see how he does this, but less playing time or getting benched may be possible.
NEW LINES AND DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
One of the first things Berube did was change up the lines and defensive pairings. These were the lines and pairings at the Flyers practice today:
Hartnell – Giroux – Simmonds
B. Schenn – Lecavalier – Voracek
Talbot – Couturier – Read
Rosehill – Hall – Rinaldo
Timonen – L. Schenn
Streit – Meszaros
Grossmann – Coburn
Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn each moved up a line while Jakub Voracek and Matt Read each dropped a line.
The biggest changes came on defense with Braydon Coburn dropping to the third pair after playing with Kimmo Timonen on the first pair to start the season. Andrej Meszaros and Luke Schenn each moved up a pairing. These changes make the defensive pairings look the same as last season. Timonen and L. Schenn played well together last year and Berube wanted to give them another shot at playing together. Coburn and Grossmann also played well together and Berube called them a "shutdown pair" of defensemen.
OFFENSE AND POWER PLAY
The line changes that Berube made will hopefully be the spark needed for the offense to get things going. In three games, the Flyers have only scored three goals. The teams that the Flyers have played have combined for nine goals. That kind of performance is not going to win them games and hopefully the change in defensive pairings will help stop opposing teams more.
The Flyers have scored two of their three goals on the power play. However, they are 2-12 for the season on the power play. Look for a change in the power play unit tonight in order to change their direction.
WHO IS STARTING BETWEEN THE PIPES?
Steve Mason will be getting the start tonight against the Panthers. This will be the third game Mason has started this season. He was called on to start against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Flyers' season opener and the Carolina Hurricanes. Mason has a .915 save percentage this season. However, when playing against the Panthers, he has a .957 save percentage in four games with each game being a win.
Tim Thomas will be getting the start for the Panthers tonight. After taking a year off from hockey for "personal reasons," Thomas is looking to take care of business against the Flyers again. In eight games played in Philadelphia, Thomas is 8-0-0 and has a .947 save percentage with a 1.86 goals against average.
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