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March 6, 2012; Philadelphia, PA USA; Philadelphia Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell (19) runs into Detroit Red Wings goalie Joey MacDonald (31) during the 3rd period of game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Flyers defeated the Red Wings, 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings Game Preview

The Philadelphia Flyers will host the Detroit Red Wings tonight in the Wells Fargo Center. Game time is 7:00pm and the game will be televised on CSN Philly.

The Flyers have lost three games in a row and are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. Their schedule from now until the Olympic break is one of their hardest stretches of the season. After facing off against he Red Wings tonight the Flyers will face the Ducks, Kings, Sharks, Avalanche, and Flames before the break. The Flyers currently sit 5th in the Metropolitan division, but they are one point out of third place and three points out of second place. If the Flyers can at least stay within striking distance during this stretch that will be encouraging, although their schedule will not get a lot easier after the break.

The Red Wings are 5th in the Atlantic division, but they are currently holding the final wild card playoff spot. They are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and will be a formidable test for the Flyers. The Red Wings are led by Pavel Datsyuk (32pts in 35 games) and Henrik Zetterberg (44pts in 40 games) on offense, although both Datyuk and Zetterberg will miss tonight’s game. The Flyers will need to look out for veteran Daniel Alfredsson and youngsters like 23 year old rookie Tomas Tatar. It is also being reported that Jimmy Howard could make his return tonight for the Red Wings in goal.

Notes:

-Philadelphia Flyers insider Anthony SanFilippo tweeted out line combinations from today’s morning skate:

Hartnell – Giroux – Voracek

Lecavalier – BSchenn – Simmonds

Downie – Couturier – Read

Raffl – VandeVelde – Hall

He also reported that Zac Rinaldo skated with the team. It is interesting to note that Lecavalier was on the left side and BSchenn has been moved back to center. Also, the shutdown unit of Downie, Couturier, and Read may be back together. That would make a lot of Flyers fans, myself included, very happy.

-Steve Mason will start in goal for the Flyers. It has been rough sledding for Mase since December, but even worse since signing his 3 year, $12.3 million contract extension. He has been pulled in two of his first three starts since signing the contract and is yet to win a game. His save percentage has dropped to .913 and his goals against average is up to 2.64. If Mason is going to bounce back, this stretch of games would be a great time to do so.

-It is expected that the defensive pairings will stay the same. Therefore, Meszaros and Gill will be healthy scratches while Erik Gustafsson will be on the third pairing with Luke Schenn.  It appears that Meszaros’ confidence is taking a hit with his most recent benching.

Tags: Matt Read Phladelphia Flyers Sean Couturier Steve Downie

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