Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Who will play at forward for Flyers in Game 1?


Aside from whether Steve Mason practices this morning, the next most interesting lineup question surrounding the Flyers is who will play at forward in Game 1 on Thursday night.

Zac Rinaldo will return to the lineup after serving his four-game suspension. But Craig Berube has his pick from Steve Downie, Tye McGinn and Jason Akeson to fill the last remaining spot at forward. Winger Chris VandeVelde likely would be part of the equation if he was not suffering from a lower-body injury.

Downie, 27, closed the regular season as a healthy scratch in six of the last eight games. Berube was not pleased with his defensive play last Thursday in Tampa Bay.

McGinn, 23, would appear to be the front-runner. He played 10 games at the end of the season after being summoned from Adirondack, collecting one goal and one assist. He has never appeared in a Stanley Cup playoff game - but has played against the Rangers three times this season.

More coverage
  • VOTE: Who'll be the next coach/manager to leave?
  • Download FREE Philly Sports Now app for iPhone!
  • Buy Flyers jerseys and other gear
  • Forum: Did Flyers make right moves in offseason?
  • Latest hockey odds
  • Which is the biggest reason the Flyers haven’t won at Madison Square Garden in their last eight regular-season meetings?
      638 (40.9%)
      594 (38.1%)
      327 (21.0%)
    Total votes = 1559

    Akeson, 23, is a bit of a darkhorse. The Phantoms' leading scorer for each of the past two seasons, Akeson has netted a point in each of his two NHL games - on the final day of the last two regular seasons. He scored in his NHL debut in his hometown of Ottawa on April 27, 2013.

    "We will look at it, discuss it and make a decision," Berube said. "I think you have to look at it both ways - what kind of team you are playing and how a player is playing."

    With seven 20-goal scorers, the Flyers don't seem to need anymore scoring pop. Defensive lapses need to be kept to a minimum in the playoffs, when one goal can swing an entire series. Akeson has been criticized for his defensive play in Adirondack, which has prevented a more extended call-up in the past; that probably slots him behind McGinn. Berube liked what he saw of Akeson on Sunday, though.

    "He's a heads-up player," Berube said. "He's got skill and he has composure with the puck. I thought he played a good game."

    On Twitter: @DNFlyers

    Blog: ph.ly/FrequentFlyers


    Daily News Staff Writer seravaf@phillynews.com
    We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
    Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

    Comment policy:

    Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

    Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

    Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

    Read 0 comments
    comments powered by Disqus
    Latest Videos:
    Also on Philly.com:
    letter icon Newsletter