Flyers vs. Canadiens
7 p.m., CSN
The Flyers will try to bounce back from back-to-back losses when they host the Montreal Canadiens at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday night.
Montreal could become the first team to reach 3-0 this season while the Flyers will try to avoid an 0-3 start for a third consecutive year.
Here are five things you should know before puck drop:
1. Fright night
Halloween came early for Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn, who had arguably his worst outing as an NHL player in Thursday’s 6-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils. The 24-year-old was on the ice for five goals against and had a puck deflect off his skate and past netminder Steve Mason.
Schenn wasn’t alone, however. The entire defensive corps was underwhelming. But it’s a telling stat that Schenn has been on the ice for six of the eight goals scored against the Flyers through the first two games.
So how will Schenn bounce back? According to the rugged blueliner, it’s as simple as just forgetting about it.
“You pick your head up and get back to the drawing board and work hard,” he said Thursday. “I felt good tonight. It’s bounces, bad luck, gaps. You have to have a short memory to move on.”
2. That’s a relief
The Flyers received good news Friday as it pertains to Braydon Coburn’s lower-body injury (see story).
General manager Ron Hextall said Coburn still needs to see a specialist Monday, but is optimistic the defenseman will miss only a few days.
“I’m hoping it’s short-term instead of mid-term is the best way to put it,” Hextall said. “Before, I was thinking weeks … hopefully now, it’s less than that.”
Coburn receives quite a bit of criticism from a portion of the Flyers’ fanbase. Yes, he’s prone to make some questionable decisions on the ice and doesn’t use his huge frame enough. But with Kimmo Timonen already on the shelf, Coburn is one of the hardest players for the Flyers to replace. He can play a lot of minutes and his valuable on the penalty kill. His absence Thursday was noticeable.
3. Line changes … already?
It took Flyers coach Craig Berube four and half periods to shuffle his lines this season.
Sure, the Flyers had just one goal during that span, but it was still interesting to see Berube mix up his players so quickly.
Michael Raffl saw time with the top line, R.J. Umberger skated with Sean Couturier and Matt Read and Vinny Lecavalier had Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn on his wings for much of the third period.
One thing that didn’t change was the Flyers’ fourth line of Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Zac Rinaldo and Jason Akeson. All three skaters have been solid through the first two games, often pinning the opposition in its defensive zone and working hard along the boards.
It’s unclear what Berube will opt to do with his lines for Saturday’s game. Guess we’ll have to wait until gametime to find out.
4. Keep an eye on …
Flyers: Wayne Simmonds was a beast Thursday night. Plain and simple. The Flyers’ new assistant captain did the best he could to help the Flyers claw their way back into a game that looked out of reach after the first 35 minutes. He scored twice in the final minute of the second period — once on the power play — and picked up an assist on Vinny Lecavalier’s third-period marker, which came just 15 seconds after New Jersey took a 4-3 lead. He was also ferocious on the forecheck. Expect Simmonds to carry over that intensity into Saturday’s game.
Canadiens: Tomas Plekanec is off to a hot start for the Habs. The 31-year-old centerman has three of Montreal’s five markers this season and is playing with a ton of confidence. He’s fired seven shots on goal through two games and gave Toronto and Washington defenders headaches with quickness and playmaking instincts. He’s not a true sniper, but he will burn teams if given him time and space. Plekanec posted two points (one goal) and averaged just over 20 minutes of ice time in three games against the Flyers last season.
5. This and that
• The Flyers won two of three meetings against the Canadiens last season. Brayden Schenn had an assist in each contest.
• Montreal goalie Carey Price is 8-9-0 with a 2.67 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 18 career games — 17 starts — against the Flyers.
• The Flyers were 1 for 12 on the power play against the Canadiens in 2013-14. Montreal went 2 for 14 on the man advantage in the season series.
• Entering Saturday, there are six players in the NHL who are minus-4 or worse. Five of them are Flyers (Voracek, Raffl, Claude Giroux, Michael Del Zotto and L. Schenn).
• For only the sixth time in NHL history, all 30 teams will be in action during a 15-game Saturday. The last time all 30 clubs suited up on the same day was April 7, 2012, the final day of the 2011-12 regular season.