Flyers to Host the Suddenly Powerhouse Nashville Predators

Flyers to Host the Suddenly Powerhouse Nashville Predators

Let's face it: more than a decade after the Predators' inaugural season, the words "Nashville" and "hockey" still don't make a ton of sense. Add in those mustard yellow jerseys and it becomes increasingly difficult not to ask the, "So is this really the same league with the Red Wings and Maple Leafs and Canadiens?" question.

But yes, apparently it is, because the Nashville Predators are outplaying and outscoring just about everyone right now.

Tied with Vancouver for the second most points in the Western Conference (66), Nashville is a remarkable 13-2-0 in their last 15 games.

And according to CSNPhilly's Tim Panaccio and Sarah Baiker, things aren't going to bode well for the Flyers should they surrender the first goal this evening:

Perhaps even more daunting for the Flyers, who are notoriously s-l-o-w starters at home this season, Nashville’s record says much when it scores first – 21-2-3.

Allow the Preds the first goal tonight, and well, the Flyers will likely finish 0-2 against them this season.

The first loss to which they're referring came just 19 days ago when the Flyers were downed 4-2 in Nashville. Goaltender Pekka Rinne turned aside 28 of the Flyers 30 shots in the Predators win, a game that no doubt helped him record his brilliant 1.92 GAA and .935 SV% in the month of January. Thankfully for the Flyers, Rinne will not be in goal this evening.  Rather, the Flyers will attempt to do damage against backup netminder Anders Lindback, who will be making just his sixth start of the season. In an e-mail earlier this afternoon, our own Matt P. labeled this turn of events as "good."

As for the Flyers, Ilya Bryzgalov will continue his quest to right the ship with his second straight post-All Star start this evening.

On the injury front, both Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk were held out of practice yesterday and remain sidelined indefinitely with concussions. Forward Zac Rinaldo, meanwhile, has been cleared to play, necessitating Ben Holmstrom's re-shipping to Adirondack.

Of note, after Tuesday's OT loss to Winnipeg, the Flyers are just 11-7-4 at home this year (so, functionally 11-11) as compared to 18-7-2 on the road. They have dropped their last three straight at the Wells Fargo Center. Can the Orange & Black give the people something to cheer about tonight, or is the pressure of sending the fans home happy perhaps getting to this young team?

Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. Video of coach Peter Laviolette discussing tonight's matchup and Danny Briere on his head injury below:

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

With Roman Quinn's season over with an oblique strain, Freddy Galvis moves up to second in the Phillies' lineup Wednesday night against the Braves.

Quinn's showing in the majors this month was a microcosm of his pro career to this point — he showed his speed with four steals and several infield hits, posted a .373 OBP in 69 plate appearances, but suffered another injury. Health has always been his roadblock.

With Quinn out, Cody Asche gets a start in left field against Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who he's homered off of. The presence of Quinn and Aaron Altherr has limited Asche's playing time — he's started only three games since coming back from Triple A on Sept. 10.

Asche bats seventh, a spot ahead of Aaron Altherr, who is 7 for 52 (.135) in his last 18 games and has four extra-base hits in his last 133 plate appearances.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Cody Asche, LF
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Adam Morgan, P

Matt Kemp, who sat last night, returns to the Braves' lineup.

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Matt Kemp, LF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Dansby Swanson, SS
7. Mallex Smith, RF
8. Daniel Castro, 2B
9. Mike Foltynewicz, P

Radko Gudas shooting pucks, 'pretty close' to 100 percent

Radko Gudas shooting pucks, 'pretty close' to 100 percent

VOORHEES, N.J. — Injured Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas is getting closer to returning to game action.

Gudas, recovering from a fractured right wrist (his shooting hand), has been cleared to shoot pucks for the past couple of days and was shooting and hitting in practice Wednesday at Flyers Skate Zone. He has yet to play in a preseason game but said he’s “pretty close” to 100 percent.
 
“I can’t say it’s really 100 percent, but it’s getting there soon,” Gudas said following practice.
 
“There’s a lot of time for me to get in top, game-like shape. There’s not a chance I would miss the start of the season.”
 
Gudas said the most important aspect of the healing process is keeping it stable by wearing a brace to limit too much movement.
 
“It’s better. I’m shooting on it in practice — feels better every day,” he said. “I’m working on a lot of it every day with the strength guys and the doctors here. We’re going day to day, I’m seeing myself sooner than later jumping on the ice.”
 
The second-year Flyer would like to play in preseason games before the start of the regular season but also understands the importance of not rushing to avoid costing him regular-season games.
 
“That’s the main part — feeling pain-free,” Gudas said. “Throughout the season, there’s not a lot of time off so we need to make sure everything is the best it can be before the season starts.
 
“Obviously it’s going to be the coaches’ decision when to put me in. I’m sure they’re talking with the staff for when would be the proper time.”
 
The 26-year-old Gudas signed a four-year contract extension in June after playing a career-high 76 games and recording 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 2015-16.
 
After practice, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol did not have an update on Gudas or defenseman Nick Schultz, who was shaken up Tuesday night.
 
“Everybody wants to play at least a game or two before the season,” Gudas said. “I don’t think it needs to be said.
 
“He wants to have me ready and I want to be ready.”