Preview: Red Wings at Flyers
The final shoe dropped on the Dave Hakstol era in Philadelphia as the free-falling Flyers fired their coach and named Scott Gordon as the interim bench boss ahead of Tuesday night’s game against the visiting Detroit Red Wings. Gordon, who was the coach of Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League, takes the reins of a sputtering Flyers club that resides in the cellar of the Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia, which is in the midst of a massive front-office overhaul, was outscored 22-8 en route to losing the final four contests of its five-game road trip. The Flyers’ age-old issue with leaky goaltending has been underscored this season, with the team using a league-high five netminders and receiving a collective league-worst .874 save percentage. Detroit isn’t setting the league on fire, either, as it dropped its third straight contest with Saturday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders in the opener of its three-game road trip. Thomas Vanek collected a goal and two assists versus his former team after mustering two points in his previous eight contests.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS Detroit, TVAS, NBCS Philadelphia
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (14-15-5): Dylan Larkin has enjoyed a December to remember despite playing in only nine games this month as he carries a seven-game point streak (four goals, six assists) into the Wells Fargo Center. The 22-year-old Michigan native’s five goals and 11 points in December are one shy of his October totals. While Larkin leads the club in goals (14) and points (32), fellow forward Gustav Nyquist has erupted for 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his last 11 games.
ABOUT THE FLYERS (12-15-4): Prized goaltending prospect Carter Hart has long since been envisioned as Philadelphia’s netminder of the future, but the patient timetable has been sped up considerably as the 20-year-old was recalled from the Phantoms on Monday. “Make no mistake about it; we recognize where we are at,” general manager Chuck Fletcher said of rushing Hart to the main club after the latter posted a 9-5-2 mark with Lehigh Valley. “It is a tight team. I recognize our inconsistencies and our talent.” Fellow goaltender Anthony Stolarz (lower body) was placed on injured reserve and is expected to be sidelined 2-to-4 weeks.
1. Detroit G Jimmy Howard allowed eight goals on 62 shots to split a pair of meetings with Philadelphia last season.
2. Flyers captain Claude Giroux has 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in his last eight contests.
3. Red Wings speedy C Andreas Athanasiou is second on the team with 11 goals despite failing to score in each of his last nine games.