Flyers-Predators preview: Trying to win one for the Captain
Do not expect the Nashville Predators to get caught up in all the Claude Giroux hoopla Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center, said Mike Yeo, the Philadelphia Flyers’ interim coach.
Giroux, 34, will become the second player in franchise history to play in 1,000 games tonight for the Flyers.
“Everybody is embracing the idea of, ‘Let’s make it special for him,’ ’’ Yeo said after the morning skate Thursday. “No. 1, I want the guys to enjoy it, and celebrate it with him, and a big part of celebrating it would be to play a great game, too.
“Enjoy the festivities and pregame stuff, but we’re also going to have to get our brains turned on very quickly because this is a good hockey team (they are facing),” Yeo added. “I’m not sure they’re going to share all our joy and celebration for G on his day, because this is a big game for them, so we’re going to have to be ready to go.”
The Preds (35-21-4), who are fourth in the tough Central Division, have won four of their last five games. The Flyers (18-30-11) are at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and have lost 24 of their last 29, including Sunday’s brutal defeat to Montreal.
Plain and simple: The Flyers will try to win one for their long-time captain. This could be the final home game in Giroux’s iconic career because he could be traded soon.
Another storyline: How will Cam York perform on the Philadelphia Flyers’ top defensive pairing?
Nashville will attempt to extend its winning streak to three games and improve its playoff chances in the Western Conference. The Predators’ lineup includes two former Flyers: Nick Cousins (seven goals, 16 points in 47 games) and Phil Myers (three points, plus-5 in 26 games).
The Predators are led by defenseman Roman Josi, a second-round pick in 2008 who has a team-leading 69 points and has a plus-18 rating. Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg each have 31 goals.
Flyers’ projected lineup
Line 1: Giroux centering Morgan Frost and Travis Konecny.
Line 2: Derick Brassard centering James van Riemsdyk and Cam Atkinson.
Line 3: Kevin Hayes centering Oskar Lindblom and Joel Farabee.
Line 4: Patrick Brown centering Max Willman and Zack MacEwen.
Defense: Ivan Provorov, who is the subject of trade rumors, and York; Travis Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen, Keith Yandle and Justin Braun.
Goalie: Carter Hart.
Giroux will be playing in his 1,000th career game, all with the Flyers.
In one-goal games, Nashville has won 15 of 24 (15-5-4), while the Flyers have victories in just 11 of 27 (11-5-11).
For Nashville, center Duchene has eight goals and a plus-8 rating over his last seven games.
Atkinson has four goals and a plus-3 rating over his last five games for the Flyers.
Projected goalie matchup
Hart (2.97 GAA, .911 save percentage) will face Juuse Saros (2.41, .924), who will make his 18th start in the last 20 games.
How to watch
NBC Sports Philadelphia at 7 p.m.
How to bet
Money line (FanDuel)
Preds 4, Flyers 3.
Prediction record: 21-7.