DETROIT - The Flyers have struggled when center Vinny Lecavalier has been out of the lineup, and he will not play again Wednesday night in Detroit.
Lecavalier, 33, will miss his second straight game because of back spasms. Earlier this season, he missed four games because of other injuries.
In the five games he has missed, the Flyers are 1-4 and have scored a total of six goals. They beat New Jersey on Nov. 2, 1-0, in their only win without Lecavalier.
Lecavalier leads the Flyers with nine goals, and officially is listed as day to day.
“With Vinny out, we need guys to step up,” captain Claude Giroux said.
Sean Couturier says the Flyers need to throw more pucks at the net and create more traffic than they did in their 2-0 loss in Minnesota on Monday.
“If we get back to doing that, we’ll have more success,” said Couturier, whose offensive game has improved since space-clearing Steve winger Steve Downie was acquired from Colorado and placed on his line.
The Flyers, who are 1-16-3 at Joe Louis Arena since 1988, will be facing a depleted Red Wings team that will be without injured top-liners Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, a pair of dominating two-way players.
“It makes teams play better when they’re without key players,” winger Jake Voracek said. “…We have to be ready.”
The Flyers have been fortunate to face teams without injured stars. That said, they were blasted by the Alex Ovechkin-less Washington Capitals, 7-0; they lost to the Seven Stamkos-less Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-2; and they were badly outplayed by Nashville but stole a 3-2 shootout win. Nashville was missing defensemen Shea Weber and goalie Pekka Rinne, among others.
Brayden Schenn will again play center on the second line _ Lecavalier’s usual spot _ and have Wayne Simmonds and Michael Raffl as his wingers.
Schenn also centered Raffl and Simmonds in the Flyers’ 5-2 loss in Detroit on Oct. 12. That was a game the Flyers were the better even-strength team, but allowed the Red Wings to go 3 for 7 on the power play.
In that game, Schenn’s unit was probably the Flyers’ best line. They had 13 shots _ seven by Schenn, four by Simmonds, two by Raffl _ and were a combined plus-2.
I felt we had a pretty strong game, so hopefully we can have a good one this time around,” Schenn said.
Olympic audition. Giroux, who has just four goals, will be showcasing his talents for Detroit coach Mike Babcock, who will coach Team Canada in the Olympics.
“I’m aware of it, but I can’t really control that kind of stuff, so I’m not too worried about it,” Giroux said, adding it would “obviously be unbelievable” to make the team.
Breakaways. Steve Mason (9-8-2, 2.09 GAA, .934 save percentage) will oppose Detroit’s Jimmy Howard (6-7-6, 2.57, .913….The Red Wings have won four straight, but are just 5-4-6 at home season, compared to 9-3-1 on the road….Flyers goalie prospect Anthony Stolarz, a second-round draft pick in 2012, was named to Team USA’s World Junior roster. The 6-foot-6 Stolarz, a 19-year-old from Jackson, N.J, is 16-3-1 with 2.40 GAA and .929 save percentage for OHL London….Couturier on Downie: “On the breakout, he’s willing to take the hit to make that pass or make that play and gives you an extra second or two to skate. He’s been a big part of the success of our line.”….The Flyers are 1-1 on their current six-game road trip
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