Voracek injured in Flyers' preseason loss to NJ

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Voracek injured in Flyers' preseason loss to NJ

On a night when the Flyers' top centerman, Claude Giroux, made his preseason debut coming off an injury, his top right wing went down with an injury of his own.

Jakub Voracek, the Flyers’ leading goal scorer last season with 22, sustained an “upper-body” injury during the second period of Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils at Wells Fargo Center.

“It’s not serious,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “I don’t think he was going to play on Thursday anyway.”

Voracek was taken down hard from behind by Devils’ defenseman Mark Fayne during a second period breakaway.

The Czech winger slid awkwardly into the left post, appearing to injure the left side of his back. Though awarded a penalty shot, Voracek was in so much discomfort, he failed to get a decent shot off.

Even before taking the penalty shot, Voracek was in obvious pain after untangling himself from the net.

“You never want to see that,” coach Peter Laviolette said of the injury. “I love the move he made -- the power move to the net from the outside. It was a great play, a great attempt, but you don’t want to see anybody hurt.”

Voracek left the game and did not return, but was walking afterward without a limp. He was not, however, permitted to speak to the media.

Giroux made his preseason debut recovering from surgery to repair tendon damage to his right hand.

“I felt better as the game went on,” Giroux said. “I think the first period was just getting back in the game and making plays.”

He must be feeling pretty good, as Giroux won 9 of 11 faceoffs.

“He will continue to get to game speed and there is always a little bit of transition for guys coming in that … come off an injury and getting back into a game,” Laviolette said.

“Game speed and quickness, so I think that will get better for him as he plays and practices. Overall, he played a pretty good game.”

Injuries aside, early on this was another frustrating match against a Devils team that literally owns the Flyers.

What was unnerving about just another preseason game is that some of the things that presented themselves against the Devils, we’ve seen in the regular season.

Specifically, the Flyers' inability to handle the Devils' nasty forecheck. In fairness, once they found their skating legs in the second period, that was no longer an issue. However, the Flyers didn’t generate enough quality chances overall on goalie Corey Schneider.

In the first period, the Flyers couldn’t even generate shots, as they went over 11 minutes without a single one. When they finally did get one, it wasn’t from one of their high-octane forwards but rather enforcer Jay Rosehill.

New Jersey outshot the Flyers, 11-4, that period.

Second period? That was a completely different story, as the Flyers began moving their skates in unison.

“New guys playing with new guys and learning the system,” Giroux said. “You could see as the game went on we took control a little bit. New Jersey is always good defensively. We had our chances.”

Voracek’s breakaway represented the Flyers' best chance of the game.

The Flyers outplayed the Devils in the second period and had the better chances overall.

The Devils' first goal early in the game was a beauty in which Ryane Clowe hit Marek Zidlicky pinching down the slot from the point.

Zidlicky quickly scanned the Flyers' defense and put a stutter-step move on Erik Gustafsson. It was enough to allow him to swing very, very wide to the right circle, then cut behind Gustafsson to the net, switch hands and tuck the puck inside the right post.

The way Ray Emery was playing it, he obviously expected Zidlicky to go wide around the net and that didn’t happen.

“Yeah, it’s just a situation where you kind of get froze and you want to kind of challenge the shooter there, and he made a good play kind of coming back against it,” Emery said.

Mike Sislo’s backhander in the final period was weak. Not only did he get too much room in beating Andrej Meszaros, his shot found a hole between the post and Emery, as well.

Kimmo Timonen had a power-play goal late in the game.

The Flyers are now 1-3-1 with two exhibition games left to play -- Thursday in New Jersey and Friday in Washington.

Flyers-Wild 5 things: Road trip about to become a horror story?

Flyers-Wild 5 things: Road trip about to become a horror story?

Flyers (33-31-8) at Wild (44-22-6)
8 p.m. on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App; Pregame Live at 7:30

A four-game road trip takes a daunting turn Thursday night when the Flyers play the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

Here are five things to know for the matchup:

1. Hazardous road
You thought things were already ugly?

It looks like it could get much, much worse.

The Flyers now visit three of the NHL's top five clubs, starting with the Wild, followed by the Blue Jackets and the Penguins.

Those three are a combined 137-58-21 overall and 79-24-5 at home.

And it's safe to say the Flyers don't have any momentum heading into this gauntlet. They're coming off a 3-2 loss to the Jets, a non-contender decimated by injuries, and are 4-15-3 on the road since Dec. 19 with a minus-36 goal differential.

"We need to have a better effort," Steve Mason said postgame Tuesday. "We keep playing like this and we'll be mathematically eliminated before we know it."

2. Hole gets deeper
With a win over the Blue Jackets on Wednesday, the Maple Leafs moved past the Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division, making Boston the current leader for the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot at 82 points.

The Flyers, with 74 points, trail the Bruins, Islanders (80), Lightning (77) and Hurricanes (75), who have a game in hand, as well. Oh, and the Panthers are just one point behind the Flyers.

Ten regular-season games remain and Dave Hakstol's group needs a miracle.

In search of some type of spark, the Flyers will strut out a different look against the Wild.

"We're running out of time here, so hopefully a couple line changes here gives us a little spark offensively," Matt Read said Wednesday. "We've still got to play better defensively, but you know it's kind of do-or-die right now. So hopefully chemistry clicks right away and things can start going off the bat."

3. A look at the Wild
Minnesota, which went 30-6-3 from the start of December to the end of February, has cooled off a bit but is still one of the most well-rounded teams in the NHL.

The Wild are 3-8-0 in March. For the season, however, they rank among the league's top 10 in goals per game (3.22 -- second), goals against per game (2.47 -- tied for sixth), power-play percentage (21.3 -- ninth) and penalty-kill percentage (83.8 -- seventh).

Mikael Granlund, Eric Staal, Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker all have 20 or more goals, while netminder Devan Dubnyk has been a top-five goalie at 37-18-3 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: Jakub Voracek has no goals and an assist in his last six games for a minus-5 rating. When he's not providing offense, the Flyers predictably struggle. The good thing: Voracek owns 16 points in 18 career games against Minnesota.

Wild: Ryan Suter has been a stud for the Wild. The defenseman leads the NHL as a plus-34 and is third with 27:07 of ice time per game. The 32-year-old is Minnesota's backbone and the Wild are 21-6-1 in games that he has at least one point.

5. This and that
• Mason will make his 11th start in the last 12 games. He is 7-6-1 lifetime against Minnesota with a 2.59 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.

• Dubnyk is 2-4-1 with a 2.72 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in seven career games against the Flyers.

• Brandon Manning is back in the lineup for Michael Del Zotto (see Skate Update). Manning missed the last fives games with a shoulder injury.

• Former Flyer Ryan White is out for the Wild with an illness.

Flyers Skate Update: Brandon Manning back in lineup vs. Wild

Flyers Skate Update: Brandon Manning back in lineup vs. Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Facing a critical road game in Minnesota on Thursday night, the Flyers will welcome back a key defenseman to their lineup.

Brandon Manning, who has missed the past five games with a shoulder injury, will return and pair with Radko Gudas on the blue line.

“We’re playing a heavy team tonight,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “They’ve got some size up front. They’re a heavy team down low. So, we’ll need that pair to play that way. They’ve got to be an abrasive pair and they have to be on the heavy side defensively.”

Michael Del Zotto will be the odd man out as the Flyers have seven healthy defensemen again. Manning, with three goals and seven assists in 57 games this season, said he’s not worried about conditioning or the injury.

“I’m not too worried about that,” Manning said. “I’m feeling good, I’m feeling strong. Did some contact a few days ago and not even thinking about it.”

Toronto’s win in Columbus on Tuesday night allowed the Maple Leafs to surpass Boston in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins now hold the No. 8 spot in the playoff race with 82 points with nine games remaining. The Flyers are eight points back, with three teams in between, and 10 games left in the season.

Their play on the road is one big reason why the Flyers are out of a playoff spot. They are 12-20-4 on the road this season, tied for the second-fewest road wins among Eastern Conference teams. They’re winless in their last six road games (0-5-1) as they play the second game of a four-game trip.

“I don’t think there’s panic,” Manning said. “I think the focus is on each and every night, not really looking too far down the road. Obviously, the last couple weeks, we’ve probably given up points we don’t want to give up and put ourselves in a pretty tough spot. But we got a good group of guys in here, and guys that have played pro hockey long enough that know what it’s like.”

With Del Zotto's being scratched for Manning, Nick Schultz will play what could be his final game in the Xcel Energy Center, where he spent 10 seasons with the Wild. Schultz, a second-round draft pick by Minnesota in 2000, ranks second in franchise history with 743 games played.

Hakstol said Schultz’s history wasn’t a factor in keeping the defenseman in the lineup.

“He’s filled his role well the last few games,” Hakstol said. “He’s been good in that role with Ghost. So, he’s staying in for that reason.”

Goaltender Steve Mason will start for the 11th time in 12 games. He has a 2.25 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in his last 10 games.

Lineup
F: Read-Giroux-Voracek
Weal-Filppula-Simmons
Schenn-Couturier-Weise
Konecny-Bellemare-VandeVelde

D: Provorov-MacDonald
Schultz-Gostisbehere
Manning-Gudas

G: Mason