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Flyers vs. Wild: Sean Couturier’s Key Matchup, How to Watch, Prediction

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Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers
Flyers goaltender Carter Hart makes a save against Minnesota last season. The teams will meet Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center. Photo: AP.

The Philadelphia Flyers are coming off an emotionally draining 3-2 loss in Vegas. The Minnesota Wild are coming off an emotional high.

The teams will collide Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center, where the Flyers will start a four-game homestand.

Philly held a 2-1 lead and was eight minutes away from its most impressive win of the season Tuesday. Then stuff happened. Bad stuff.

Paul Cotter went around defenseman Egor Zamula and tied the score with 7:54 left in regulation. With 32.5 seconds to go, a Cam York turnover led to Shea Theodore scoring on a drive past screened goalie Carter Hart.

Can the Flyers (3-2-1) and their young defense regroup?

The high-scoring Wild, meanwhile, finally got their top line, centered by former Flyer Ryan Hartman, going in the right direction Tuesday in a 7-4 win over Edmonton.

Hartman had his second career hat trick, and two assists, and linemates Kirill “The Thrill” Kaprizov (three assists) and Mats Zuccarello (goal, assist) piled up points as the Wild improved to 3-2-1.

The line combined for 10 points; the unit had 15 in the first five games.

“They looked like the line we’ve known them to be,” Wild coach Dean Evason told reporters after the win.

The Sean Couturier line, which shut down Connor McDavid (zero shots) and Co. recently, figures to spend a good part of Thursday matched against Hartman’s unit. Couturier has been centering Owen Tippett and Cam Atkinson.

McDavid didn’t play against the Wild because of an upper-body injury.

Minnesota goalies Filip Gustavsson (3.95 GAA, .897 SP) and Marc-Andre Fleury (3.55, .868) have struggled thus far, and the Wild have allowed 4.17 goals per game, 30th in the 32-team NHL.

Carter Hart (2.21, .923) has been sharp for the Flyers, who are surrendering 2.67 goals per game, eighth in the league.

How to Watch

The 7:30 p.m. game will be shown on ESPN+ and Hulu.

Prediction

Wild 4, Flyers 3 in overtime.

Breakaways

Morgan Frost will be a healthy scratch for the fifth straight game. … Minnesota is averaging about 4.2 goals a game, fouth in the NHL. Joel Eriksson Ek  leads the Wild with four goal, while Travis Konecny (5) and Cam Atkinson (4) are the Flyers’ top goal scorers. … Travis Sanheim has a team-high five assists, and Zamula leads the team with a plus-6 rating. … Minnesota is starting a three-game road trip. … Injured Wild center Frederick Gaudreau (0 points in six games) did not make the trip, and veteran Jujhar Khaira (four assists in four AHL games) was recalled from Iowa. … Nick Seeler, who used to play for Minnesota, has the Flyers’ second-best rating at plus-5. He leads the Flyers with 24 penalty minutes. …  Former Flyers farmhand Pat Maroon has four assists for Minnesota. … The Flyers have an all-time 17-10-3 record against the Wild, including an 11-4-1 mark at home.

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