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Flyers-Red Wings preview: Philly aims to extend its winning streak as Derick Brassard returns

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Derick Brassard, Flyers
Derick Brassard will return to the Flyers' lineup Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings and center the third line. Photo: Zack Hill.

Mike Yeo, the Flyers’ interim coach, still believes his injury-ravaged team has meaningful games left.

“I refuse to give up on the season,” Yeo said after practice Tuesday, preparing for Wednesday’s game against the visiting Detroit Red Wings (20-21-6).

He said the team’s focus is the same as it was when the Flyers put together a seven-game point streak from Dec. 10-30.

“Every guy has a responsibility when they go on the ice in every situation,” he said. “That’s what we’re going to continue to work on and build on. You do those things, you’re going to win hockey games.”

The Flyers (15-22-8) are 17 points out of a playoff spot with 37 games left.

“Obviously, it’s going to be challenging,” Yeo said. “We have a big hole to climb out of, but we won’t know unless we start doing the right things night after night. I feel like it’s getting closer. So I would say our mindset hasn’t changed. We’re definitely not quitting on making the playoffs, but we can’t even think about making the playoffs until you’re playing a game that is deserving of making the playoffs.”

The Flyers will have third-line center Derick Brassard, 34, back in the lineup for the first time since Jan. 6. He missed the last 11 games because of a hip injury, and has been sidelined for 26 games this season. The Flyers sent Morgan Frost down to the Phantoms for more seasoning, making room for Brassard, who is probably being showcased for a trade down the road.

When healthy, Brassard has been effective this season and has helped the Flyers’ penalty kill. He has 11 points and a plus-7 rating in 19 games.

Storylines

The Flyers are hoping the momentum they built with two straight wins before the All-Star break will continue as they play for the first time in eight nights. With defensive whiz Sean Couturier sidelined, they will have a difficult time containing the sizzling Dylan Larkin (23 goals, 44 points).

The Red Wings are hoping the All-Star break gave them a chance to regroup after losing five of their last seven.

The teams will face each other in back-to-back games. They will also meet Saturday in Detroit at noon.

Flyers’ projected lineup

Line 1: Claude Giroux centering Oskar Lindblom and Cam Atkinson.

Line 2: Scott Laughton centering James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny.

Line 3: Brassard centering Gerry Mayhew and Max Willman.

Line 4: Connor Bunnaman centering Isaac Ratcliffe and Zack MacEwen.

Defense: Ivan Provorov and Justin Braun; Travis Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen; Keith Yandle and Nick Seeler.

Goalie:  Carter Hart.

Numbers Dept.

Both teams have grim numbers. The Flyers are 30th on the power play (15% success rate), 27th in goals per game (2.51), and 23rd in goals allowed per game (3.29).

The Red Wings are 27th on the power play (16.1%), 23rd in goals per game (23rd), and 26th in goals allowed per game (3.43).

Both have also struggled on the penalty kill. The Flyers are 20th (77.6%), and the Wings are 22nd (77.3%).

Who’s hot

Larkin, a 25-year-old center, has seven goals and 10 points over his last eight games for the Red Wings. Yeo said Giroux and Laughton will take turns shadowing the fleet Larkin, but that it would take a “total team effort” to contain him.

Atkinson has five assists, seven points, and a plus-5 rating over his last five games.

Projected goalie matchup­­­

Hart, who has won his last two starts, will get the call for the Flyers. He has a 2.80 GAA and .915 save percentage.

Alex Nedeljkovic, who had a breakout season with Carolina last year, will start for the Red Wings. The Ohio native is 13-13-5 with a 2.90 GAA and .911 save percentage.

How to watch

NBC Sports Philadelphia at 7 p.m.

How to bet

Money Line (FanDuel)

Red Wings: plus-105

Flyers: minus-114.

Prediction: Flyers 3, Red Wings 2.

Prediction record: 11-3.

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