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Gameday at Detroit: Battered Flyers Looking for Offense

Philadelphia Flyers (1-4-0) at Detroit Redwings (2-2-0)
Joe Louis Arena — Detroit, Mich.
7:00 p.m. on CSN and 97.5 FM The Fanatic

Setting the Stage

Scoring is once again a problem for the Flyers, who have managed six goals in the first five games -- they have just one multi-goal game, a 2-1 win against Florida on Tuesday. Riding off of another disappointing 2-1 loss to Phoenix last night, the Flyers will travel to Detroit for the second half of a back-to-back.

It won't get any easier today as Philadelphia is without two of its top six forwards in Scott Hartnell and Vincent Lecavalier. To replace them, the Flyers have recalled Michael Raffl and Tye McGinn, which both expected to be in the lineup tonight. Raffl is making his NHL debut.

Detroit isn't having the start to the season they had hoped either, having lost two straight heading into this match up. The Wings have just eight goals in four games which better than the Flyers but still a sign of offensive struggles.

What to Expect

Detroit is just as hungry as Philadelphia to shake the funk that it's in. 

Like Raffl, the Red Wings will be debuting one of their younger players today as well. Detroit called up Luke Brendening, who played college at the University of Michigan.

The Wings also did some shaking up of their lines, according to the preview:

According to the website, other changes included Todd Bertuzzi moving up to the top line with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik ZetterbergJustin Abdelkader moving down to the second line withStephen Weiss and Johan Franzen, and Daniel Alfredsson dropping to the third line with Andersson and Daniel Cleary.

So Philadelphia isn't the only team searching for answers from its best scoring players. 

The Masked Men

Philadelphia: Ray Emery (0-1-0, .882 sv%, 4.00 GAA)
Emery will be making his second start of the season. In his only other start of the season, Emery allowed four goals in a 4-1 loss to Montreal last Saturday. Emery is currently considered the backup to Mason but an impressive showing will help in his quest for more starts from the Flyers.

Detroit: Jimmy Howard (2-2-0, .916 sv%, 2.49 GAA)
Howard will be making his fifth start of the season, and debuting a new set of pads for Brest Cancer Awareness during the month of October as well. 

Everyone knows what Howard brings to the table. He's one of the NHL's best goalies and is the reason Detroit has two wins this season. He steals a lot of games, which gives him the distinct advantage against a team struggling to score.

 

Keys to the Game

1. Rise Above Adversity - It's bad enough the Flyers can't score. Now they are without Hartnell and Lecavalier. Players like Brayden Schenn, Matt Read and Sean Couturier need to step up, and star forwards Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek need to shake out of the early season funk they're in.

2. Raffl Time - Raffl is making his debut after playing well in Adirondack to start the season. He will be looking at third line minutes most likely. A good showing from him will go a long way for both the Flyers and Raffl, who Philadelphia views as a potential full-time NHLer.

3. Powerplay - This has become a broken record for the Flyers, who are 2-for-23 on the powerplay this season. Nothing more can be said but to do a better job of moving the puck in the offensive zone and finish the plays. Five games into the season and this is already a tired topic.

Quotable

"The chances are there, like I said. We’re going to the net, we’re creating our own chances. When you see that, I think confidence goes up. We’re playing a big team tomorrow. They’ll be rested and ready for us.  We’ll have to be on the same game plan again." - Captain center Claude Giroux after Friday's loss.

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