Edmonton Oilers (4-6-1) at Philadelphia Flyers (4-5-2)

November 5th, 2014 by Kyle Lutz | Filed under Flyers, General, Hockey.

Who- Edmonton Oilers (4-6-1) at Philadelphia Flyers (4-5-2)
Where-
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
When- 11/4, 7:00 PM ET
Starting Goalies- Viktor Fasth vs. Steve Mason
Line Combinations/Defensive Pairings

(Alan Diaz/AP Photo)

For the Flyers, newly-acquired defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo will start, in his debut with the team; after sitting out Saturday-night’s game at Florida, alongside Luke Schenn. A good sign, still-injured Flyers’ defenseman Braydon Coburn returned to practice today, participating in the team’s morning skate, but won’t play for a couple-more games, at least, as he is still recovering from a left-foot injury he sustained in the opener at Boston on October 8th. He’s missed the past-10 games because of it.

In other news, the Flyers waived center Blair Jones, who made the team out of training camp this year. He played in four games, not registering a point and having a +/- of -4. He will return to the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, after clearing waivers. That leaves the team with 23 players, one under the max, which makes me believe that Coburn is very close to returning.

The Oilers, starting tonight and still seeking their first road win of the season, will begin a five-game road trip, one that’ll span a week. They’ll be without star left-winger Taylor Hall, who’s out for 2-4 weeks with an MCL sprain, and veteran blue-liner Andrew Ference, who’s serving a three-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head. Edmonton’s 0-2-1 on the road this year, and they’ve given up 17 goals. Philadelphia was 2-0 vs. Edmonton last season, outscoring them 8-5.

Both teams are currently in the middle of a two-game skid: Edmonton lost to Vancouver and Nashville, while Philadelphia lost both of their bouts in the Sunshine State, at Tampa and Florida. Philadelphia, thankfully, will begin a four-game homestand, starting tonight. Both teams are also ranked down at the bottom this year in terms of team penalty minutes/game, which is surprising for Philadelphia (albeit it still being early on in the season), since they’re usually at the top of that list (Edmonton ranks 28th with 8/game, while Philadelphia ranks 27th at 8.18).

Impressively, Flyers’ winger Jakub Voracek ranks second currently in the NHL in points, with 16, behind only Sidney Crosby, who has 18. In four out of his last five games, Voracek has registered two points, and he’s totaled nine points in those games. Center Vincent Lecavalier will play in his second-straight game tonight, after returning Saturday at Florida, after missing a month with a lower-body injury. He had a goal and five shots at Florida, in just over 14 minutes of ice time. Due to Lecavalier’s recent return to the lineup, winger R.J. Umberger will return to playing on Lecavalier’s line, with Wayne Simmonds.

I expect Oilers’ young right-winger Jordan Eberle to be expected to carry the load, especially in tonight’s game, with the loss of Hall. Eberle has eight points in 10 games so far this season, and had 65 points — including 28 goals — in 80 games last season. Edmonton has been an up-and-down team this year, to say the least. They began their season with a five-game winless streak, then they won four straight, before (as mentioned) losing their past-two affairs. It would be great if the Flyers could pounce on Fasth early on, get a big lead and then play smart from there on, in not taking any dumb penalties, which they’ve been known to do, especially fourth-line winger Zac Rinaldo. Rinaldo, this season, seems to be unable to learn to not take retaliatory penalties. If Philadelphia has a significant lead, he may see more playing time, to rest the star players like Giroux and Voracek, so Rinaldo needs to improve in that area of his game.

Flyers’ netminder Steve Mason will start in his second-straight game, after backup Ray Emery — who’s had a solid year thus far — started the previous-four games, due to Mason’s struggles early on. Despite the loss at Florida on Saturday, Mason had an overall-solid game, stopping 28/30 shots.

Keys to the Game

-Start the homestand off on a positive note
-Don’t take Edmonton lightly (they were only 29-44-9 last season, and aren’t off to a hot start so far this season)
-Getting into rhythm: the new Colaiacovo/Schenn defensive pairing, and with the new-old Lecavalier line starting back up again

Player of the Game Prediction 

Jake Voracek

I look for Voracek to continue his recent stretch of dominance tonight. To boot, Edmonton only ranks 27th in most goals allowed/game this season, with 3.5

Game Prediction

Flyers win, 5-2

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