After a week off, the Philadelphia Flyers are back on the ice tonight as they take on their division rival New York Rangers at 7:00 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers haven't had the best of luck over the past two seasons against the Rangers as they are a combined 2-9 since 2011. The Flyers are looking to turn both their performance against the Rangers and their current 1-7 season around tonight.
Earlier this week, Flyers head coach Craig Berube decided it was time to change up the lines. It was an inevitable decision as none of the lines are producing. The biggest change was the promotion of Vinny Lecavalier and Michael Raffl to the first line to play alongside Claude Giroux. It isn't the first time that Lecavalier has played on the wing as he had played their at times during his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Berube hopes Lecavalier will help the first line with scoring chances and also help Giroux regain his confidence. Lecavalier is basically in the same position that Jaromir Jagr was when he played with Giroux. When Jagr was here, Giroux had a 90 point season. Jagr was also turning 40 during the season. Lecavalier is 33-years-old and has the potential to put up better numbers than Jagr did in Philly. Jagr only had 54 points with his 19 goals and 35 assists that season.
TONIGHT'S PROJECTED LINES
Raffl – Giroux – Lecavalier
McGinn – B. Schenn – Voracek
Simmonds – Couturier – Read
Hall – Talbot – Rinaldo
Timonen – Gustafsson
Streit – L. Schenn
Coburn – Grossmann
Tye McGinn, Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek practiced with each other this week when Lecavalier and Raffl got promoted to the first line. You can also see that Wayne Simmonds and Max Talbot were each demoted a line. The defensive pairings remain the same.
POWER PLAY CHANGES
The four lines weren't the only things being changed around. Berube also switched things up with the power play units this week as well. This is the new first power play unit
Simmonds – Giroux – Voracek
Streit – Lecavalier
The name you should notice that is missing is Kimmo Timonen. He has been on the Flyers top power play unit since he started playing with the Flyers. He has now been demoted to the second power play unit as he is still in search of his first point of the season.
Timonen usually averages the most playing time than the other defensemen. Berube said he wants to try and bring his time down. That would be extremely beneficial to the Flyers in the long run so he isn't tired and fatigued toward the end of the season. Berube said he wanted to get Streit more power play time and this move allows for that.
NO HENRIK LUNDQVIST TONIGHT
The Flyers will be facing an unfamiliar goaltender in Cam Talbot as they take on the Rangers tonight. The Rangers are without their star goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, tonight due to a "minor" injury that has been bothering him for the past week or so. Talbot will be making his first career start in one of the biggest rivalry games he will probably ever play in. Talbot was 4-0-1 with the Rangers' AHL affiliate before being called up to take Martin Biron's spot as the backup goaltender. Talbot had a goals against average of 2.49 and a save percentage of .924 in the AHL.
MASON IN BETWEEN THE PIPES
Steve Mason will be getting his seventh start of the season tonight. Mason's play has officially earned him the status of the Flyers' number one goalie despite is 1-5 record. Mason won't have it as rough as he could have tonight because the Rangers will be without three of their top forwards. Missing from the Rangers lineup will be Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin. Even without those three players, Mason will still have to play out of his mind tonight because the Flyers always seem to blow up in the third period this season.
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