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Flyers Gameday: 4/13/24 vs. NJ, Phantoms Update, Snider Hockey Pro-Am

April 13, 2024, 5:10 PM ET [189 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Game 81 Preview: Flyers vs. Devils

On Wayne Simmonds Retirement Night at the Wells Fargo Center, the Philadelphia Flyers (37-32-11) will host the New Jersey Devils (37-32-5) on Saturday evening. Game time at the Wells Fargo Center is 5:00 p.m. EDT. Attending fans are requested to be in their seats by 4:45 p.m. for the pregame celebration of Simmonds' eight seasons as a Flyer.

The Flyers need a win to stay alive in the Eastern Conference playoff chase. The Devils are mathematically eliminated from a playoff spot and are missing some key players, including both Jack Hughes (shoulder surgery) and Dougie Hamilton (out since late November with a torn pectoral muscle). However, as last Saturday's ugly loss in Coumbus showed, the Flyers can't worry about who is or isn't available on the other side. The lowly Blue Jackets were missing 10 regulars from their lineup and starting their No. 3 goalie on the depth chart. They still handed the Flyers an ugly 6-2 loss.

The Flyers can only worry about playing the type of game they exhibited in Thursday's impressive 4-1 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. If you can limit the Rangers to two shots in the third period and largely contain Artemi Panarin (apart from a 5-on-3 power play goal) and company, you can handle Nico Hischier and New Jersey. If you can get blown out by a severely depleted Columbus Jackets club and follow it with a 9-3 shellacking by the Canadiens, you can lose to anyone.

On PhiladelphiaFlyers.com, I wrote a very in-depth preview of Saturday's game. We run down the playoff race ramifications of this match and other games being played today. There's a point-by-point analysis of the process the Flyers followed to beat the Rangers and MUST carry over into this game, a look at the mental and emotional game-within-a-game, and much more. See "Five Things" for more: Click here.

Neither the Flyers nor the Devils will hold a morning skate on Saturday. There will be a 3:30 p.m. EDT press conference with Wayne Simmonds to lead into the pregame celebration of his career. Simmonds, with his wife, their kids and his mom Wanda on hand, will also drop the ceremonial opening faceoff with longtime Flyers teammate Sean Couturier and former Devils teammate Hischier in the center ice faceoff circle. Unfortunately, Wayne's dad Cyril Simmonds passed away a few months ago.

Projected lineups are below, with the Flyers' lineup based off Thursday's starting lineup in New York. The Devils lineup is via Amanda Stein's Twitter (and impeccable handwriting). Changes will be noted, if need be, in a blog update posted during pregame warmups.

FLYERS

71 Tyson Foerster - 25 Ryan Poehling - 11 Travis Konecny
27 Noah Cates - 14 Sean Couturier - 19 Garnet Hathaway
74 Owen Tippett - 48 Morgan Frost - 10 Bobby Brink
86 Joel Farabee- 21 Scott Laughton -89 Cam Atkinson

8 Cam York - 6 Travis Sanheim
24 Nick Seeler - 9 Jamie Drysdale
5 Egor Zamula - 77 Erik Johnson

33 Samuel Ersson
[82 Ivan Fedotov]

PP1: Drysdale, Foerster, Poehling, Konecny, Brink
PP2: Zamula, Cates, Frost, Farabee, Tippett

Projected scratched: 15 Denis Gurianov (healthy), 18 Marc Staal (healthy), 23 Ronnie Attard (healthy), 44 Nicolas Deslauriers (healthy), 50 Adam Ginning (healthy), 62 Olle Lycksell (healthy).

DEVILS

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Phantoms Update: Loss in Hershey, Bridgeport on Tap

Ian Laperriere's Lehigh Valley Phantoms (29-30-9) have lost three of their last four games but have not lost any ground in the competition for the sixth and final Calder Cup playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. That is because the Springfield Thunderbirds (29-34-5) have lost five game in a row in regulation.

On Saturday, the Phantoms will host the last place Bridgeport Islanders (24-37-8) at the PPL Center in Allentown. The Islanders' have been a tough out for the Phantoms this season, however, with all four games being decided by a single goal and the Phantoms going 2-2-0 in the season series. One of the Lehigh Valley wins was via shootout.

Goaltending prospect Alexei Kolosov will make his North American pro hockey debut for the Phantoms on Saturday night. On Friday night, Kolosov backed up veteran Cal Petersen (25 saves on 29 shots) in the Phantoms' 4-1 road loss to the Hershey Bears.

In the Phantoms' last three head-to-head games with the AHL leading Bears (51-12-5), Lehigh Valley scored but a single regulation goal. That tally came on Friday from veteran captain Garrett Wilson off a setup from rookie Samu Tuomaala. However, the Phantoms did manage one win in those three games via a 1-0 shootout win. There was also a 1-0 regulation loss and Friday's three-goal margin of defeat.

Somehow, the Phantoms will enter play on Saturday with a four-point lead over Springfield. Even so, a win over Bridgeport remains a must. Springfield hosts the Charlotte Checkers (37-23-7 overall, 18-10-3 on the road) at MassMutual Center on Saturday evening. Head-to-head this season, the Thunderbirds are 4-3-0 against Charlotte in seven meetings: 2-1-0 in Springfield and 2-2-0 in Charlotte.

A Phantoms win over Bridgeport (by any means) paired with a Springfield regulation loss would open a six-point lead for Lehigh Valley with both teams having three remaining games thereafter. A Phantoms win paired with a Springfield overtime or shootout loss would create a five-point gap.

The Phantoms are idle on Sunday. Playing the third game of a 3-in-3 gauntlet, the Thurnderbirds will host the second place Providence Bruins (39-19-9) on Sunday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. EDT.

Bottom line: The Phantoms can make life much easier on themselves by taking care of their own business against Bridgeport on Saturday. The Phantoms' biggest obstacle: themselves.

In particular, the Phantoms power play -- a team strength for most of the season, has been a nosedive down the stretch. The power play is in an 0-for-26 drought that has dropped the club from the top one-third of the AHLto a tie with Belleville for 18th (18.3 percent overall). The power play was horrid -- a momentum killer -- in Friday's game at Hershey.

There are reasons for the swoon: The NHL recalls of Bobby Brink Brink and Olle Lycksell, some injury-related absences in a few games represented in the front end of the swoon, some 10-bell saves by opposing goalies, etc. The bottom line, though, is that the Phantoms power play has gone AWOL at the most important time of the season. It's somewhat similar to how the Flyers' penalty kill was stellar for the first 90 percent of the season but has scuffled badly down the stretch.

The Phantoms own PK has been inconsistent down the stretch from game to game and sometimes from kill opportunity to kill opportunity. Overall, the Phantoms have dropped to 25th on the PK at 80 percent after going 7-for-10 across the last two games. What's hidden with the downward trending numbers are some clutch kills in April wins against Hershey and Providence.

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Snider Hockey Pro-Am

After Saturday's Flyers-Devils game, Snider Hockey and Education will hold its fundraising Pro-Am competition at the Wells Fargo Center. The scheduled start time is 8:30 p.m. EDT. If the Flyers and Devils run long, such as via a game decided in a shootout, there could conceivably by a somewhat delayed start.

Fifteen NHL/Flyers Alumni will be participating in the game, either as players, coaches, or as a guest referee (Ed Hospodar, substituting for U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer Paul Stewart, who cannot attend due to ongoing hip issues that prevent him from skating).

Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Bernie Parent will coach Team Snider. Flyers Hall of Fame defenseman Joe Watson will coach Team CrowdStrike. Note: If you are attending today's Flyers vs. Devils game, Joe will be by Section 110 pregame and during intermissions to greet fans and sign copies of his "Thundermouth" autobiography.

Flyers Alumni who are playing in the game: Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Mark Howe, fellow 1980s defenseman Doug Crossman and Riley Cote will play on Team CrowdStrike. Scott Hartnell, Patrick Sharp and Todd Fedoruk will play on Team Snider.

Other participating NHL Alumni: Pierre Turgeon and Dominic Moore are playing for Team Snider. Stephane Matteau is playing for Team CrowdStrike.

Event info is below, courtesy of Snider Hockey's Kathy Hsieh. I plan to stay after the Flyers' game to support the event and cover it for the Flyers Alumni's social media and website.

Arrival Time, Parking, Entrance & Player Gear Drop-Off:

Arrival: Doors open at 3:30PM on game day. A Phillies game next door is scheduled at 4:05PM. Event traffic is expected within the complex, please plan accordingly.

Parking: All guests who have RSVP'd with parking requests have been added to the official event parking list. Enter the lots at A-Gate on Broad Street and park in D-Lot. Please share your name with the parking attendant. A parking map can be found below.

Entrance & Gear Drop-Off: Enter through the Southwest Doors located to the right of Premium Entrance on the Broad Street Side of Wells Fargo Center. See map below. Snider staff will be at the door to greet you and escort you to the location for gear drop-off and to the suite.

Snider Hockey Suite Tickets:

All game tickets have been sent to participants via Ticketmaster. If you are having trouble accessing your tickets, please contact Hayley Phenegar ([email protected]) for assistance.

The Suite is located on the Club Level (Suite C17). Food and beverages will be provided. There may be a few special VIP guest appearances throughout the game.

Additional Notes & Reminders for Participating Players:

What to Bring: Hockey jerseys and socks will be provided; please bring all other gear/equipment.

Waiver: Waivers MUST be signed prior to playing on game night.

Spectator Seating: Guests of players will be escorted by Snider staff to the section behind the players benches following the Flyers game.

Postgame Party at Shift4 Club

Immediately following the Pro-Am game, players and spectators are invited to celebrate in the Shift4 Club for a Post-Game Party. Food and beverages will be provided.
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