Flyers-Red Wings: 5 things you need to know

Flyers-Red Wings: 5 things you need to know
January 28, 2014, 11:00 am
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The Flyers (25-22-6) will try to snap their four-game losing skid when they face the Detroit Red Wings (23-18-11) for the final time this season on Tuesday evening.

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (CSN) at the Wells Fargo Center.

Here are five things you need to know:

1. Huge break
When the Flyers take the ice on Tuesday, they will have the luxury of not having to shut down two of the best players in the NHL.

Henrik Zetterberg (back) and Pavel Datsyuk (lower body) did not make the trip to Philadelphia, meaning Detroit will have to play without its two all-stars for a fifth time this season.  

The Red Wings have gotten back Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen, Jonathan Ericsson and Darren Helm from injuries in the last four games and will need those skaters to produce with Zetterberg (44 points) and Datsyuk (32 points) sidelined.

Detroit could also have goalie Jimmy Howard (left knee) and forward Joakim Andersson (lower body) back in the lineup for Tuesday’s tilt. But the Flyers have a golden opportunity to snap their skid and grab two points with Zetterberg and Datsyuk out.

It’s been an inconsistent season for the injury-plagued Red Wings. They are, however, coming off a 3-1-1 homestand and are still very much alive in the chase for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Don’t rule them out just yet.

2. Final meeting
The Red Wings struck first in the season series, coming away with a 5-2 victory over the Flyers -- thanks to three-point performances from Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Nicklas Kronwall -- in Detroit on Oct. 12.

But the Flyers showed some resiliency in their more recent matchup with Detroit, using a four-goal third period to battle back for a 6-3 win at Joe Louis Arena on Dec. 4.

One player who will be happy to see the Red Wings visit South Philly for the only time this season on Tuesday is Sean Couturier. The 21-year-old had two goals and two assists the last time he played against Detroit.

Couturier will also be looking to snap a nine-game goalless stretch for the Flyers, who have not lost at home to the Red Wings since a 4-1 defeat on Jan. 25, 1997.

The team that stays out of the box will likely come out on top. Detroit went 3 for 7 on the man advantage in their win over the Flyers earlier this season, while the Orange and Black converted on all three of their power-play attempts in the latest matchup between these two clubs.

3. Leave on a good note
After their matchup with Detroit, the Flyers will embark on a six-day trip to California to visit Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.

The last thing the Flyers want to do is hit the road with five consecutive losses. They put up an embarrassing effort in Saturday’s 6-1 shellacking at the hands of the Boston Bruins and have allowed 37 goals during a 2-5-2 stretch.

So what do the Flyers need to do to snap out of their funk?

“The key to getting out of this is to have a good start the next game,” Wayne Simmonds said (see story). “We haven’t been playing well as of late in all aspects of the game, offensively and, especially, defensively.”

4. Injuries
Zac Rinaldo has been out since Jan. 9 with a high left ankle sprain but is now considered day to day. A decision will be made after Tuesday’s morning skate on whether he will play against the Red Wings.

A CT scan on Scott Hartnell’s left foot came back negative on Monday, a day after he was spotted in a walking boot. He’s OK to play and expected to be in the lineup on Tuesday (see story).

In addition to Zetterberg and Datsyuk, Stephen Weiss (sports hernia) and Cory Emmerton (finger) are out for Detroit.

5. This and that
• The Flyers have allowed eight goals in the last 28 times they’ve been shorthanded.

• Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist has a goal in four straight games and at least a point in five straight.

• The Flyers have been outscored 13-3 in the first periods of their last nine games.

• Detroit has been much better on the road than at home this season, posting a 14-7-3 record away from “The Joe.”

• The Flyers are the NHL’s most-penalized team, averaging 15.9 PIMs per game. In comparison, the Red Wings average just 9.2 penalty minutes, fifth-lowest in the league.