Flyers know they need to create their own spark
Rise and shine!
The Flyers (10-12-2) have an early matchup with the Winnipeg Jets (12-11-4) on Friday at Wells Fargo Center.
With puck drop set for 11:30 a.m. (CSN), here are five things you need to know for the game:
1. Home sweet home
The Flyers have had their struggles on home ice this season, but they will be happy to return to Wells Fargo Center after dropping both their games in Florida earlier this week.
Since starting the season 2-7-0 in South Philly, the Flyers have won four straight at home, outscoring opponents 18-7 in the process.
The Flyers will be looking to cool off a team that has had plenty of success in Philadelphia over the past few seasons. In their last seven visits to Wells Fargo Center, the Jets have beat the Flyers six times.
2. Stay out of the box
In the last meeting between these two clubs, the Flyers committed just four minor penalties but allowed Winnipeg to convert on two of its power plays at MTS Centre.
With the Flyers up 2-1 in the third period, Steve Downie was whistled for a hooking call with less than six minutes remaining and Dustin Byfuglien cashed in on Winnipeg's opportunity. The towering defenseman tied things up with the Jets on the man advantage and the Flyers would eventually lose in a shootout, 3-2.
Downie took blame for the loss, which ended a three-game winning streak for the Flyers.
"You got to play smart," Downie said. "We had the chance, we had the opportunity. I took a bad penalty."
The Jets are particuarly a dangerous team on the power play. They rank towards the bottom of the NHL at 12.2 percent on the PP, but the Flyers should know better than to underestimate their opponents after suffering a disappointing loss to the Panthers on Monday.
3. East killers
Maybe the Jets would be better off if they had stayed in the Eastern Conference.
Now in the tough Central Division in the Western Conference, Winnipeg has had trouble climbing from the bottom of the standings. The Central is the only division in the NHL with all of its teams above .500.
But the Jets are making the most of their limited games against teams from the East. They are 6-1-1 against their former Conference entering Friday.
Winnipeg's 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday was its fifth consecutive win against a team from the East.
The Jets are also in the midst of a six-game road trip. They've won the first two games on the road after posting an 0-2-2 record in their previous four.
The Flyers were without Matt Read in Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The winger is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Read said Wednesday that he blocked a shot in the Flyers' loss to the Panthers and his skate wasn't fitting properly. He hopes to return against Winnipeg.
“I just blocked a shot in the wrong spot,” he said (see story). “My skate doesn’t fit properly right now. I’ll take a couple days off and hopefully, let that swelling go down. We’ll see.”
The Jets have three players on injured reserve.
Defensemen Zach Bogosian (groin) and Paul Postma (blood clot) and forward Jim Slater (sports hernia) will not play against the Flyers.
5. This and that
• Steve Mason is 2-0-1 with a 0.88 GAA and .969 save percentage in four games (three starts) against the Jets.
• Ondrej Pavelec is 7-3-1 in 12 games (11 starts) against the Flyers despite a 3.24 goals-against average.
• The Flyers have three goals in their last two games after scoring 14 in the previous three.
• Vinny Lecavalier leads the Flyers with nine goals in 20 games this season. He scored 10 markers in 39 games with Tampa in 2013.
• The Flyers have scored at least one power-play goal in each of their last eight games. They've gone 32.1 percent on the PP since Nov. 12 after scoring just six goals in their first 64 chances this season.