Flyers at Red Wings
7:30 p.m., NBCSN/TCN
The Flyers (8-9-3) will try to snap a five-game road losing streak when they take on the Detroit Red Wings (11-5-5) at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday night.
Here’s five things you should know before puck drop:
1. All about that Mase
Let’s be clear: Steve Mason earned a point Monday night on Long Island, not the Flyers.
It took a shootout for the Islanders to finally solve Mason, who made a season-high 46 saves from all angles in regulation/overtime for his first shutout of the season before allowing two goals in the dreaded shootout.
The Flyers’ netminder was visibly upset after the game. You could tell he was disappointed with the team’s performance, but still tried to keep some of the attention on himself.
"It's frustrating, but at the same time ... it has to be frustrating for the players when you don't perform well and you let in crap goals (in other games),” Mason said (see full story). “It's just frustrating not being able to get the extra point.”
Mason has every right to be agitated. He’s posted a 1.32 goals-against average in his last three starts but has just one win to show for it. Strong goaltending was absent in the early portion of the Flyers’ schedule, but it’s the least of the team’s worries right now.
2. Avoid the shootout
The Flyers need to do everything they can to just win games in regulation or overtime. The shootout clearly isn’t doing them any favors.
Since the shootout was instituted in 2005-06, the Flyers have posted an NHL-worst 27-54 record in the gimmick. They’ve dropped all three shootouts they’ve participated in this season and eight straight dating back to last season, when they went 3-8 overall.
Flyers captain Claude Giroux was asked Monday if the Flyers’ shootout woes are starting to become frustrating. His answer was predictable.
“Of course,” he said (see full story). “Any time you have a chance to win and get an extra point in the shootout you wanna get it.”
Flyers shooters have converted on just one of their 10 shootout attempts this season. Giroux potted the lone goal. Let’s just say there’s room for improvement.
Update: Forward Michael Raffl (lower-body) is making progress in his rehab. He initially was expected to miss Wednesday's game and return this weekend, but the 25-year-old could play against Detroit. Head coach Craig Berube said Raffl will be a game-time decision. Raffl scored two goals and added an assist in the Flyers' 4-2 win over the Red Wings on Oct. 25.
Fellow forward Chris VandeVelde also has a lower-body ailment. He missed his second consecutive game Monday. His status for Wednesday night is questionable.
For the Red Wings, goalie Jonas Gustavsson (shoulder) and defenseman Brendan Smith (hand) are out. Center Pavel Datsyuk missed his fourth straight game Monday with a sore groin, but will suit up against the Flyers.
4. Keep an eye on …
Flyers: When Jakub Voracek isn’t piling up points, none of the Flyers are. The 25-year-old has been held off the scoresheet just three times this season. It’s no coincidence that all three of those contests were shutout losses. It wasn’t from a lack of effort, however. Voracek has easily been the Flyers’ most consistent forward all season. He’s been strong with the puck on his stick and has done a tremendous job finding open lanes to create opportunities. He’s due for a clutch goal. Don’t be surprised if he gets it Wednesday night.
Red Wings: Big-name forwards like Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and Datsyuk tend to steal the headlines but there’s another offensive force emerging in Detroit. I’m talking about Gustav Nyquist, who has a team-high 10 goals through 21 games for the Red Wings. The 25-year-old is an elusive skater and possesses tremendous offensive abilities. He’s a natural center, but has converted nicely to the wing. He’s not the biggest forward (5-11, 185), but he’ll burn any team if he’s given time and space.
5. This and that
• The Flyers have won three consecutive matchups against the Red Wings, scoring 15 goals during that stretch.
• Giroux has two goals and five assists in his last four games vs. Detroit.
• In his second game of the season, Stephen Weiss scored two goals in the Red Wings’ 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators Monday. Weiss had two markers in 26 games last season, his first with Detroit.
• The Flyers are just 3 for 31 on the power play in opposing arenas this season.
• The Red Wings are 12 for 40 on the man advantage in their last nine games.