When the Detroit Red Wings faced the Philadelphia Flyers earlier this season, they rolled to a 5-2 victory thanks to three points from Pavel Datsyuk and two goals from captain Henrik Zetterberg. They will meet the Flyers again on Wednesday night without those two star players, and will need a big night from goaltender Jimmy Howard as well as a secondary scoring boost if they hope to achieve a similar result in this rematch. Datsyuk is reported to be a week away from returning from a concussion, while Zetterberg will miss up to two weeks with a herniated disc.
Howard is fresh off a 29-save shutout against the New York Islanders after losing his previous seven starts. Having Howard’s confidence back will be huge for the Red Wings, but they will still need to help their netminder out. The Flyers have won five of their last eight games, and while their scoring and power play haven’t been great, they have gotten a boost from the play of goaltender Steve Mason and a penalty kill that ranks 12th in the league. Special teams has been a strong area for Detroit recently, and they will need to see a power play that is ranked seventh in the league and a penalty kill that is the league’s second best come up big for them on Wednesday.
With Datsyuk out, the Red Wings have won four games in a row. Darren Helm and Johan Franzen have stepped up and been steady offensively, and with Zetterberg out that needs to continue. Gustav Nyquist and Stephen Weiss will get a chance on the top line due to the injuries, and Justin Abdelkader and Daniel Alfredsson will be looked to for scoring from the second line. Center Cory Emmerton was recalled from the AHL and will add depth to the fourth line. After a slow start, Alfredsson has been steady as of late, and it would be great for this team if Weiss can start doing the same. Mason has been hard to beat lately, making any scoring chances the Red Wings can get against him that much more important.