FLYERS (20-17-4) at COYOTES (20-11-9)
Season series: It’s the second and final game this season between the Philadelphia Flyers and Phoenix Coyotes. On Oct. 11, Oliver Ekman-Larsson's power-play goal with 13 seconds left in the second period held up as the game-winner in a 2-1 Coyotes win in Philadelphia.
Big story: The Coyotes will have a key component of their lineup back for this game, as captain Shane Doan will play for the first time in a month. He has been sidelined since Dec. 4 undergoing treatment for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Doan practiced with the team Friday and said he was ready to return.
"I think my energy level is high," Doan said. "Obviously, it's the first game and with everything that went on the past month, we'll see how the energy level is. Hopefully, it'll be good, but I'm not worried about that because I've done everything I can to feel good and be ready to go."
The Flyers will be missing a key piece of theirs as rookie forward Michael Raffl will sit out with a concussion. In 10 games on the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, the trio had combined for 11 goals and 25 assists as the Flyers went 7-2-1.
Coyotes: While the Coyotes will get their captain back, they will play minus defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson who suffered an upper-body injury in the first period Thursday on a hit from behind by Blue Jackets forward Derek MacKenzie.
The Coyotes are coming off a 2-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. It was the first time this season Phoenix failed to score a goal.
Head Coach Dave Tippett is looking for a much better effort vs. the Flyers.
"We didn't play well enough," he said. "We didn't execute well enough. We didn't compete hard enough. They (the Flyers) are a team that really competes hard and has good skill. They were in a little bit of a funk early in the year when we were in there. We were able to sneak a win out of there, but this will be a different team coming in this time."
Mike Smith will start in goal after stopping 29 of 31 shots in Thursday's loss.
“Obviously, the outcome wasn't what we wanted, but personally I felt like I needed to come in (on Thursday) and rebound and for the most part, I thought I did that," Smith said. "But it's about winning games, it's not about personal achievement, so I felt good, but disappointed with the outcome.”
Through 40 games this season, the Coyotes have already secured the third-best first half point total (20-11-9, 49 points) in team history.
Flyers: While they were disappointed with the end of their four-game win streak Thursday, the Flyers believed they did everything they could to get a win.
"The effort was there," Giroux said. "We played a good game. We had a lot of chances to tie it up. The puck was on the goal line. A lot of chances. I think we've just got to keep our heads up."
The difference in the game was Ryan O'Reilly's second-period goal that barely trickled through Flyers goalie Steve Mason. Philadelphia pushed with 10 shots on goal in the third in an attempt to tie it but couldn't get anything past Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov.
"It was a pretty (bad) break," Mason said. "The effort was there (Thursday). We had a lot of chances to get back and take the lead but the puck wasn't bouncing the right way for us [Thursday]. I thought the guys were working hard to create chances."
Who's hot: Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle has two goals and three assists in his past four games... Flyers forward Scott Hartnell has two goals and five assists during his current streak of six straight games with a point.
Injury report: For the Coyotes, defensemen Zbynek Michalek (lower body) and Ekman-Larsson (upper body) are out... For the Flyers, Raffl and defenseman Erik Gustafsson (knee) are out. Forward Matt Read (upper body) is questionable.
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