Game preview: Flyers at Red Wings
The Philadelphia Flyers’ struggles to consistently defend power plays will be a weak spot the Red Wings will likely try to capitalize on when they play host to the Flyers Wednesday night (7 p.m. pregame, 7:30 face-off on FOX Sports Detroit).
The Red Wings (11-5-5) will try to deliver Philadelphia (8-9-3) a sixth consecutive loss on the road, and clinch their fifth win in seven games as they welcome their Eastern Conference rivals to the Joe Louis Arena.
Philadelphia’s penalty killing has emerged as a chief area of concern as the team fights through a rocky start to the 2014-15 season.
Now 20 games into the regular season, the Flyers are riding with a league-low penalty kill percentage of 73.1, allowing 18 goals over 67 times short-handed. Their penalty kill plummets when the team is on the road, dropping to 60 percent over nine away games.
So it’s not great luck that their next hurdle is an away game against the Red Wings, who looked strong in Monday’s victory over the Senators and whose power-play activity has been picking up speed.
Although the Red Wings sit in the middle of the league with a 19.8 power-play percentage, 40 percent of their last 15 goals have been on a power-play. They managed two more on Monday, as Gustav Nyquist and Riley Sheahan each recorded a goal during a man advantage.
"It was a good win for our team," Mike Babcock said of the game. "We had lots of good players, and it was really good for Stephen Weiss, and that’s really good for us."
Weiss will look to keep up the momentum he started Monday, as he netted two goals in his return to the lineup following a hernia surgery that abruptly ended his 2013-14 season. His second goal, scored with 2:08 left in the second period, earned him the 400th point of his career.
The Flyers will look to their best offensive assets to try to shut down the Wings. Right wing Jakub Voracek, who leads the team in scoring (seven goals and 22 assists) and the league in points (29), has been explosive alongside reliable captain Claude Giroux (six goals, 18 assists).
Despite the performance of their top scorers, Philadelphia has struggled to shoot and was outshot, 46-21, against the Islanders on Monday. They have been outshot in over half (55.5 percent) of their matches this season.
By contrast, the Red Wings have outshot their opponents 61.9 percent of the time through their first 21 games of the season.
The Detroit Fan Favorites Win Probability Tool has the Red Wings edging out the Flyers, with the Wings coming out on top at a 55.6 percent chance of a victory.
Philadelphia currently holds the historical advantage over Detroit, with the Flyers winning six of the last eight matchups, including a 4-2 victory over the Red Wings on Oct. 25.
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