Feeling Blue: Depleted Flyers take on Red Wings

(SportsNetwork.com) – The Detroit Red Wings will try to take advantage of a
thin Philadelphia Flyers defense when the clubs meet Saturday in the City of
Brotherly Love.

The Flyers will play tonight’s home game without the services of Braydon
Coburn and Andrew MacDonald, who will both miss approximately four weeks with
lower-body injuries, according to an announcement made Friday by general
manager Ron Hextall.

Coburn has been out since suffering an injury in the season opener against
Boston on Oct. 8, but was skating with the team for a full week before
Friday’s news. MacDonald, meanwhile, had played in all seven games so far,
collecting one goal and two assists while averaging almost 23 minutes of ice
time, second on the team.

The Flyers also have been without defenseman Kimmo Timonen since the start of
the season. The 39-year-old Timonen is sidelined indefinitely with blood clot
issues that could be force the Finnish blueliner into retirement.

The injuries on the back end opened the door for prospect Shayne Gostisbehere
to possibly make his NHL debut Saturday. Gostisbehere, a third-round pick by
the Flyers in 2012, was recalled Friday from the club’s American Hockey League
affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The 21-year-old Union College product
led the Dutchmen to an NCAA title last season and was named the Frozen Four’s
most outstanding player.

Philadelphia has won two of its last three games after beginning the season
with four straight losses, but the club’s defense has been a major problem
with the Flyers surrendering an average of 3.71 goals per game. Philly is
averaging a stout 3.14 GPG on offense and it may need all the scoring it can
get with Coburn and MacDonald out of the lineup for the next month.

The Flyers are coming off Wednesday’s 5-3 win in Pittsburgh. R.J. Umberger,
Matt Read and Sean Couturier tallied in the third period to help Philly skate
past the Penguins and improve its amazing record at Consol Energy Center to

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare picked up his first NHL score while defenseman Mark
Streit also lit the lamp. Ray Emery stopped 22 shots and he could get the
start over Steve Mason again tonight.

Mason entered this season as Philadelphia’s clear No. 1 netminder, but has
struggled to an 0-3-1 mark and a 3.83 goals against average so far in 2014-15.
Emery, meanwhile, is 2-0-1 with a 2.84 GAA.

In other injury news for the Flyers, forward Zac Rinaldo is day-to-day with an
upper-body injury he suffered Wednesday against Pittsburgh. Rinaldo is
questionable for Saturday’s tilt.

Detroit enters Saturday having won three of its last four games and the club
has earned a point in five straight outings (3-0-2).

The Red Wings’ last three games all have been decided in overtime and they are
coming off Thursday’s 4-3 win against visiting Pittsburgh. Justin Abdelkader
provided the game-winning goal for Detroit, beating Penguins goaltender Thomas
Greiss over the shoulder with 44 seconds left in OT.

Niklas Kronwall had two goals and an assist and Henrik Zetterberg had a three-
point night, tallying a goal and two assists for Detroit. Jimmy Howard made 23
saves in the win.

“We weren’t pretty for a lot of the night,” Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock
said. “In the end, we were able to get it done.”

Zetterberg is off to a sizzling start to the season, registering three goals
and seven assists in seven games. The Swedish veteran has amassed 16 points
in 10 career games against the Flyers, posting nine goals and seven assists.

Jonas Gustavsson will get the start in net for Detroit. He is 0-3-1 with a
3.69 GAA in four career games against the Flyers.

The Flyers have won two straight and three of the last four meetings against
the Red Wings. Detroit also has lost its last eight games in Philadelphia
since taking Games 1 and 2 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals in the City of
Brotherly Love en route to a sweep.

The Red Wings’ last regular season victory in Philly came via a 4-1 decision
on Jan. 25, 1997.