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Flyers Gameday: 1/17/12 vs. Wild

January 17, 2012, 7:22 AM ET [1328 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT
PREVIEW 7:00 AM EST

After playing 20 of their last 29 games on the road, the Philadelphia Flyers (26-13-4) now begin a stretch that will the club play nine of the next twelve games -- including three of the next four leading into next week's All-Star break -- at the Wells Fargo Center. Philly has not taken advantage of home ice (10-6-2) often enough this season, so now is the time to correct that issue.

First up on the docket: the Minnesota Wild (22-16-7). Tonight's game starts at 7 PM EST and will be broadcast locally on CSN Philly.

This is the lone meeting between the teams this season. Last season, the Flyers traveled to Minnesota and dismantled the Wild by a 6-1 score. The Flyers held the Wild to a mere 16 shots while six different Philly players lit the lamp, including Jody Shelley.

The Wild got off to a tremendous start this season but having been in a freefall for the last month. On Dec. 14, Minnesota was leading the Western Conference. Since then, they've gone just 2-9-4. To further the adversity, the team just learned it will be without its best all-around player and team leader, Mikko Koivu, after he suffered a separated shoulder on Saturday. He'll be out at least a month.

The Flyers enter this game coming off a 4-2 loss in Nashville. The team battled hard but spent too much time chasing the game, and were never able to catch up despite twice trimming two-goal deficits back to a single goal. Sean Couturier scored for the fourth straight game while Wayne Simmonds swept in a puck near the net.

It appears as if Ilya Bryzgalov will get the start in goal for the Flyers tonight. He was not as good as Nashville's Pekka Rinne in Saturday's game but had little chance on any of the three goals he yielded -- a pair of heavy screens and a nasty deflection that would have been extremely tough for any goalie to stop.

At practice yesterday, the Flyers used the same lines that started the game in Nashville. It is likely that Couturier, who moved up to the second line during the game, will see some double-shifting duty again. James van Riemsdyk (concussion) was at the SkateZone yesterday but left early.

The Wild have also been been dealing with concussions of late: Guillaume Latendresse, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Jarrod Palmer all remain out of the lineup. Meanwhile, Niklas Backstrom (flu) is likely to play tonight despite still being a little bit under the weather.


PROJECTED LINEUPS (subject to change)

FLYERS

Hartnell - Giroux - Jagr
Talbot - Briere - Voracek
Read - Schenn - Simmonds
Zolnierczyk - Couturier - Rinaldo

Timonen - Coburn
Carle - Bourdon
Gustafsson - Meszaros

Bryzgalov
[Bobrovsky]

WILD

Heatley - Cullen - Johnson
Clutterbuck - Peters - McIntyre
Powe - Brodziak - Setoguchi
Wellman - McMillan - Staubitz

Schultz - Zidlicky
Falk - Spurgeon
Lundin - Stoner

Backstrom
[Harding]

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