Anaheim Ducks Line Rushes vs. Philadelphia Flyers: 12/03/2014


The Anaheim Ducks look to close out their short two-game homestand and six-game California stretch on a high note when they welcome the Philadelphia Flyers to Honda Center for tonight’s game. The Ducks are 3-2-0 in their five games on this stretch, including a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Monday in their previous game. The Flyers were third in the Metropolitan Division with 94 points last season and were seen as a dangerous playoff team, but Philadelphia has struggled this season, with an 8-13-3 record. Their 19 points place them at 7th in the Metropolitan Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference, and the Flyers have lost their past five games (and their past four have been regulation losses).

For the Ducks, Devante Smith-Pelly officially won the final center job, beating out both Rickard Rakell and William Karlsson in the role. Rakell was re-assigned to AHL Norfolk yesterday, and Smith-Pelly will again center the third line. Dany Heatley will possibly resume skating tomorrow. Matt Beleskey has been put on the top line, and he set a new career-high in goals on Monday, scoring his 12th of the season and the eventual game-winner in the third period against the Bruins.

According to Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register, here are the expected lineups for both teams tonight.

Anaheim Ducks Forward Lines:

Beleskey – Ryan GetzlafCorey Perry
Rene BourqueRyan KeslerKyle Palmieri
Andrew Cogliano – Smith-Pelly – Jakob Silfverberg
Patrick MaroonNate ThompsonTim Jackman

On the Ducks defense, Eric Brewer will be out four to six weeks after suffering a broken foot against the Bruins on Monday. Sami Vatanen also left the game after Simon Gagne scored with 9:40 left in the third period, but he took a maintenance day yesterday and will play. Clayton Stoner, who has been out with the mumps virus, will be paired with Vatanen. Mark Fistric has resumed skating with the team but will not play tonight. Fistric will most likely travel with the Ducks on their two game road-trip to Minnesota and Winnipeg. Jesse Blacker was re-assigned to AHL Norfolk with Rakell yesterday.

Anaheim Ducks Defense Pairings:

Cam FowlerJosh Manson
Hampus LindholmMat Clark
Stoner – Vatanen

For the Flyers, they are coming off a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks last night, when they ceded the game-winning goal to Matt Nieto with just under 12 seconds left. Jakub Voracek has had a sensational start to the season, scoring 32 points in 24 games, which leads the Flyers and is second in the NHL to Sidney Crosby. Voracek leads the Flyers in goals (nine) and assists (23). Claude Giroux, who finished third in the Hart Trophy voting last season behind Crosby and Getzlaf, has 27 points as well (seven goals, 20 assists). Vincent Lecavalier will be a scratch once again after not playing last night in San Jose. Scott Laughton recorded his first NHL point on Tuesday.

Philadelphia Flyers Forward Lines:

Michael Raffl – Giroux – Voracek
Brayden Schenn – Laughton – Wayne Simmonds
Zac RinaldoSean CouturierMatt Read
R.J. UmbergerChris VandeVeldePierre-Edouard Bellemare

The Flyers have had issues on defense, giving up 76 goals this season (3rd most in the Eastern Conference, 7th most in the NHL). Mark Streit leads the defense with 13 points, including nine assists. Streit also plays a team-high 22:47 per game. Andrew MacDonald and Michael Del Zotto are next in ice time, playing 20:43 and 20:39 per game, respectively. However, those two are a combined -11 on the season. Del Zotto looks to be a scratch again, as he also did not play in San Jose.

Philadelphia Flyers Defense Pairings:

Nicklas Grossmann – Streit
Nick SchultzBraydon Coburn
Luke Schenn – MacDonald

In net, Frederik Andersen (11-4-4, 2.35 GAA, .917 SV%) will get his 13th straight start for the Ducks. Jason LaBarbera was diagnosed with a broken hand suffered on Saturday when playing in relief against the Sharks, and he will miss two to three weeks. The Ducks signed former Anaheim and Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a tryout. Opposing Andersen looks to be Steve Mason (4-9-2, 2.71 GAA, .917 SV%), who played last night against San Jose and took the loss while stopping 25 of 27 shots. It is possible that Ray Emery (4-4-1, 3.28 GAA, .896 SV%) gets the nod as the Flyers give Mason a breather.

Jason Byun is the editor for Pucks of a Feather. He can be found on Twitter. For more Anaheim Ducks coverage, follow Pucks of a Feather on Twitter or like us on Facebook.