Flyers Going for 12th Straight Vs. Detroit at Home as Another Back-to-back Begins

The last time the Red Wings won in Philadelphia, Wayne Simmonds was 11 years old.

Ivan Provorov was 13 days old, and Travis Konecny had yet to be born.

"So that's a long time," Simmonds said after Wednesday's morning skate.

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The Flyers host Detroit at the Wells Fargo Center tonight in the first of six Wednesday Night Rivalry games of the season with a chance to win their 12th straight game over the Wings. Detroit, which joined the Eastern Conference in 2013, has gone 0-11-0 in the regular season since Jan. 25, 1997.

How does that happen?

"Guys that I (have) talked to say it's one of the toughest places to play," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "Fans are nuts here. They're on our side, so we like it."

"I don't know," Simmonds added. "We're generally a good home team ever since I've been here. This is my sixth season here. We've always had a really strong home record.

"We've had that problem with (the) New York (Rangers) for three, four years until the last couple years and then we started winning there. It changes around a little bit."

This Detroit team isn't the '97 Red Wings, who ended up sweeping the orange and black in the Stanley Cup Final. Accounting for the postseason, the last time the Red Wings won in Philly was June 7, 1997, in Game 4 of the Cup final. Still, that's about two decades.

The Red Wings no longer have Pavel Datsyuk. Henrik Zetterberg is on the tail end of his career. There are new stars in Detroit — Gustav Nyquist leading the way. Thomas Vanek appears to have rejuvenated his career in Hockey Town. Detroit has enjoyed a solid start to its season, going 6-4 in its first 10 games.

What's the biggest challenge the Red Wings pose?

"You see a lot of team speed with the way they play," Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. "If there's one thing I would pick out is they're playing fast. They have some fast players.

"Overall, they play a fast game both directions. You have to be ready, you got to be awful sharp defensively, but I think even more so, you have to be sharp with the puck."

A win tonight would not only continue the Flyers' dominance over Detroit in Philly, it would also give the orange and black their first back-to-back wins of the season.

Another back-to-back
Tonight's game marks the fourth back-to-back situation for the Flyers this season, and they still have 14 more to go.

"It takes a toll on your body," Simmonds said, "but I think at this point, you don't really notice. You want to play hockey and just want to keep going.

"Although they're probably not ideal, it's got to happen. Everyone gets them in the league, and you just have to be professional and take care of your body.

"Last year, all our back-to-backs came at the end of the year and it took a toll on us. We're getting a lot of them now, hopefully that means a more rest down the stretch."

The Flyers head to Brooklyn after the game for a Metropolitan Division matchup with the Islanders on Thursday. Their next back-to-back is Nov. 22-23 at Florida and Tampa Bay.

"You just take it one step, one challenge at a time," Hakstol said. "We have to worry about tonight. After the game tonight — it's a lot of the little things that you do to flip the switch and turn the page and immediately start getting your body and mind ready for the next one."

High praise
When Simmonds broke into the NHL in 2008-09 with the Kings, one year after L.A. drafted him in the second round, he did so with an 18-year-old defenseman named Drew Doughty.

The Kings drafted Doughty with the No. 2 overall pick in 2008, and the blueliner made Los Angeles' roster right away. Eight years later, Doughty has two Stanley Cups, two gold medals, a Norris trophy and two All-Star appearances. So, yeah, he's pretty good.

This year, the Flyers have their own 19-year-old impressing in Provorov, a smooth-skating defender who continues to have the backing of his teammates even through some ups and downs.

"He's wise beyond his years and a composure level that I haven't really seen in a 19-year-old defenseman since I played with Drew Doughty when I was back in L.A.," Simmonds said. "To have that calmness to your game is pretty impressive as a 19-year-old."

And if Provorov pans out like Doughty, that's a comparison Simmonds would welcome.

"100 percent," he said with a smile.

Projected Flyers Lineup
F: Brayden Schenn-Claude Giroux-Wayne Simmonds

Travis Konecny-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek

Matt Read-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Roman Lyubimov

Chris VandeVelde-Nick Cousins-Dale Weise

D: Andrew MacDonald-Shayne Gostisbehere

Ivan Provorov-Mark Streit

Radko Gudas-Brandon Manning

G: Michal Neuvirth

Injured: Scott Laughton (knee), Michael Raffl (abdominal pull) and Michal Del Zotto (wrist).

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