Flyers-Devils: What you need to know

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Flyers-Devils: What you need to know

Flyers at Devils -- 7:30 p.m., CSNNBCSN
Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.

For the first time since 2008-09, the Flyers have opened their season 0-2 after back-to-back losses to Pittsburgh and Buffalo.

Poor special teams play and a lack of scoring have plagued the Flyers in the early going.

Next up for the Flyers are a familiar foe in the New Jersey Devils. Tuesday night's matchup will mark the first of five meetings this season between these two bitter Atlantic Division rivals.

Records
Flyers: 0-2

Devils: 1-0

Last meeting
The last time these two teams met, the Devils ended the Flyers' 2012 postseason run with a 3-1 Game 5 victory in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Bryce Salvador, David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk each scored for New Jersey and veteran netminder Martin Brodeur made 27 saves. Max Talbot netted the Flyers' only marker.

After taking Game 1 of the series, 4-3 in overtime, the Flyers dropped four in a row to the Devils. New Jersey outscored the orange and black, 18-11, in the five-game series.

The Flyers went 3-2-1 against the Devils in the 2011-12 regular-season series, outscoring New Jersey 18-15 in the process.

Previous games
The Flyers allowed three third-period goals and fell to the Buffalo Sabres, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon. Thomas Vanek recorded five points (two goals, three assists) for the Sabres. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier each netted second-period goals for the Flyers.

New Jersey is coming off a 2-1 road victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Clarkson scored the game-winning goal at the 8:17 mark of the third period. Travis Zajac also scored for the Devils and Brodeur made 18 saves.

Who's hot
The Flyers are only two games into their 48-game, lockout-shortened season, but Claude Giroux is picking up right where he left off last season. The 25-year-old has found the back of the net in two consecutive games and has ripped six shots on opposing goaltenders.

Giroux finished 2011-12 third in the NHL in scoring with 93 points (28 goals, 65 assists). It was the most points by a Flyer since Eric Lindros had 93 in 1998-99. Giroux also collected eight goals and nine assists in 10 playoff games last postseason.

Who's not
Special teams seem to be a problem for the Flyers in the early going. The Flyers have allowed five goals on nine attempts while shorthanded and have cashed in on just 1 of 9 attempts on the power play.

Keep an eye on ...
Now that Zach Parise is gone -- he signed a 13-year deal with the Minnesota Wild in the offseason -- it's now Kovalchuk's show in New Jersey. The sharpshooting Russian forward scored 37 goals and had 83 points in 77 games for the Devils in 2011-12. The 29-year-old, who is used to having the spotlight on him having carried the Atlanta Trashers for parts of five seasons, registered 15 points in 10 total games against the Flyers last season.

Ilya Bryzgalov has looked sharp in net through two games, although his numbers don't indicate it. The Flyers' netminder has a 3.05 goals against average and .909 save percentage. Bryzgalov has performed well against New Jersey in his career. He is 4-1-0 with a 1.40 GAA in five regular-season starts against the Devils, and has shutouts in two of his last three.

Potential debut?
The Flyers on Monday recalled winger Tye McGinn from the AHL Adirondack Phantoms. McGinn will be available for Tuesday's matchup with New Jersey and could potentially make his NHL debut with Zac Rinaldo and Danny Briere nursing injuries.

The 22-year-old participated in last week's Flyers training camp and has 11 goals, four assists and 52 penalty minutes in 33 games with the Phantoms this season.

Injuries
Flyers: Rinaldo will be out a minimum of seven days because of a laceration on his right thigh, per general manager Paul Holmgren.

Briere is still recovering from a hairline fracture in his left wrist. Sources told CSNPhilly.com Flyers Insider Tim Panaccio that Briere will not play against the Devils.

Devils: Adam Henrique (thumb) is on Injured Reserve and is expected to be out for at least two more weeks.

Sound off
Who do you think will win the Atlantic Division this year?

E-mail Tim Riday at triday@comcastsportsnet.com.

Wayne Simmonds stars as Flyers top Predators, push win streak to 5 games

Wayne Simmonds stars as Flyers top Predators, push win streak to 5 games

BOX SCORE

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Dave Hakstol likes Wayne Simmonds’ net-front play more than that of any player in the league.

The Flyers' power forward showed on Sunday why his coach thinks that way.

Simmonds’ two power-play goals in front of the crease helped extend the Flyers’ win streak to five, their longest of the season, in a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Sunday night (see Instant Replay).

“If there’s a better guy in the league at net front, whether it’s on power play or 5 on 5, I don’t know who that is,” said Hakstol said after Sunday's victory. “He did a great job there tonight.”

Simmonds’ first goal came when he deflected Jake Voracek’s shot past Juuse Saros, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 18:12 of the first period.

“They had great movement around the top of the box and Jake told me to go back door if he was going to get it for a one-timer,” Simmonds said. “So I stuck my stick out back door and he hit it, and it went in the net.”

Then Simmonds batted a puck through Saros' legs for a 2-1 advantage at 6:47 of the second period for his team-leading 13th goal of the season.

“It was kind of a little bit of a cluster and the puck comes to me, and I’m alone in front of the net so I just put it five-hole and it worked,” Simmonds said.

The right wing’s father was watching in the sellout crowd of 17,113 at Bridgestone Arena during the Flyers' annual father-son trip.

“It was nice, obviously,” Simmonds said. “I just went outside and saw him. He didn’t really say much to me, but I know he’s glowing on the inside.”

Simmonds has now scored 10 career goals in 20 games against Nashville.

“What I really like about Simmer is he’s at net-front, he’s scoring goals, he’s on the power play, but he’s a great, hard-nosed, 200-foot player,” Hakstol said.

Simmonds’ goals gave the Flyers an early spark on Sunday.

“It was huge,” said Flyers left wing Michael Raffl, who scored the winning goal at 16:37 of the second period when made a power move on a rush and tucked the puck past Saros. “That gives us all the momentum.”

The Flyers improved to 7-3-1 in their last 11 games.

“We’re just trying to take care of pucks and maintain the pressure that we have,” Simmonds said. “The next shift up every game is the most important shift and that’s how we’re trying to play it here.”

Predators coach Peter Laviolette, a former Flyers coach, wasn’t surprised by his former team’s power-play success. The Flyers entered the game tied for the third best power play in the league cashed in twice on seven chances on Sunday.

“We knew going in that their power play was really good,” Laviolette said. “Their players have a lot of time together and cohesiveness and they’re pretty set in what they do. They bring pucks to the net and when they do that, things can happen. That was a difference in the game tonight.”

Winning goalie Steve Mason has started 10 of the last 11 games. He made 30 saves Sunday to improve his record to 8-8-3.

“This is the situation I want to be in, so it’s a workload that all summer you prepare for even when I was not getting the work load I wanted,” Mason said. “You prepare for it and now that it’s here I’m making the most of it.”

Instant Replay: Flyers 4, Predators 2

Instant Replay: Flyers 4, Predators 2

BOX SCORE

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Wayne Simmonds scored two power-play goals and the Flyers won their fifth straight, extending their longest win streak of the season with a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Sunday night at Bridgestone Arena.

Michael Raffl and Chris VandeVelde also scored for the Flyers (14-10-3), who have four straight wins over Nashville (11-9-4).

Calle Jarnkrok and Colin Wison scored for the Predators.

Simmonds’ first power-play goal gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead in the first period.

Nashville tied the game at 1-1 when Jarnkrok redirected Mattias Ekholm’s shot at 3:17 of the second period.

Simmonds struck again on the power play just over three minutes later when he batted a puck through Juuse Saros' legs for a 2-1 lead. Simmonds leads the Flyers with 13 goals on the year.

Wilson’s backhander tied it at 2-2 when he took a nice pass from Mike Fisher before beating Steve Mason blocker side at 11:19 of the second period.
    
Michael Raffl gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead on a 2-on-1 rush at of the second period. Raffl sped past a Nashville defender and used a power move at the front of the net before sliding the puck past Saros for game's deciding tally.

VandeVelde added an empty netter with 26.3 seconds left.
 
Moving up

Claude Gioux’s second-period assist moved him past Rod Brind-Amour into sixth in Flyers history with 367 helpers.

Giroux played in last year’s All-Star Game in Nashville.

Milestone
Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning played in his 100th career game.

Back and forth
The Flyers took three one-goal leads during the first two periods and the Predators tied the score twice before the visitors took a 3-2 lead into the final 20 minutes.

Double trouble
Simmonds tied his season high with two goals in a game. His first two-goal game came in a 6-3 loss at Toronto on Nov. 11.

The Flyers' winger has 10 goals in 20 career games against Nashville.

Back to backs
The Flyers improved to 5-1-1 on the back end of back-to-back games. The Flyers beat Chicago, 3-1, on Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia.

Goalie report
Mason improved to 9-8-3 after making 26 saves. He withstood a late push by Nashville.

Power play
The Flyers' power play went 2 for 7 with two goals by Simmonds.

The Flyers got a four-minute power play when Filip Forsberg was called for high sticking Nick Cousins at 3:12 of the third period, but couldn’t capitalize. That brought a roar from the sellout crowd of 17,113.

Penalty kill
The penalty kill went a perfect 3 for 3. The Flyers got some puck luck when Filip Forsberg’s wrist shot from the right faceoff circle bounced off the right post while Simmonds was in the box for tripping midway through the first period.
 
Scratches
Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas (sick), left wing Scott Laughton (healthy) and defenseman Nick Schultz (healthy) were scratched.

Up next
The Flyers host Florida on Tuesday to start a three-game homestand. Edmonton visits the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday and Dallas visits on Saturday afternoon.